'I'll be back'

Kevin 'The Hammer' Mitchell has vowed to fight at the Boleyn Ground again after his world title bid was halted by Michael 'The Gladiator' Katsidis on Saturday night.

Mitchell, a lifelong West Ham United fan, had hoped to win the Interim WBO world lightweight belt at the home of his favourite club, only for the Australian to stun him with a third-round stoppage.

Despite the disappointment of such a crushing defeat in front of 14,000 supporters in his native East End, the Dagenham-based boxer told whufc.com he is desperate to do it all again - with a different outcome next time.

"It was beautiful. I was sitting in the private bar - the bar was closed - before I came out and we had the big screens on and it was unbelievable. To hear them screaming and to see how many people were there to support me was beautiful.

"I will be back. It was only one loss. Michael has been beaten before in the past and he has bounced back and is still the champion now and I am sure I will do the same. I'm only 25.

"I will be back out there next summer, just watch. I will win a world title too, I'm sure."

Champion Katsidis, despite playing the role of pantomime villain, also thrived on the red-hot Boleyn Ground atmosphere.

He too is eager to return to London, and could also take to the ring at the home of the Hammers should promoter Frank Warren choose to stage another show at the stadium.

"I have said many a time that it doesn't matter to me who they are cheering for. They are passionate people for the sport that I love. I draw in their energy and I love it.

"This was a landmark night in both of our careers in that we have both got so many people interested in watching us fight. For me, it was a real buzz."

As for the bout itself, Mitchell admitted that his preparation had not been ideal - an issue he will discuss with Warren and respected trainer Jimmy Tibbs before returning to the ring in the late summer.

The 25-year-old also conceded that his first defeat in 32 professional contests had been down to not following the plans Tibbs had put forward before fight.

"In the third round, he rushed to me and I rushed back at him in a straight line, when it was our gameplan not to walk straight at him. It was my fault. I walked on to one and, bang, he hit me with a shot.

"He didn't punch hard. I didn't think he punched that hard at all. I was hurt a lot more in the Breidis Prescott fight and the Carl Johanneson fight [which I won]. Prescott probably hit me a lot harder in the mid-rounds when he hit me with a three-punch combination.

"The thing was, he caught me around the back of the head and knocked my balance. As soon as I realised where I was, I'd been stopped. When I watched it on the replay, it deserved to be stopped with the way I went. The balance and my legs went.

"He did it in the first round, too, and I felt it then and the same, it wasn't right. I plodded through to the third round and he pinned me on the ropes and backed me up. The plan was not to sit on the ropes, but I played the fool and the idiot and sat on the ropes and got caught and I paid for it and got stopped.

"It's a wake-up call. I've got to be professional in my work and really, definitely be aware of what I'm doing. I got backed up and sat on the ropes and when I watched it back on the tape, I couldn't believe what I was doing. I made it easy for him.

"I started to think I'd got him and that it would be an easy night's work. I started letting shots go and combinations go. He started chasing me across the ring with fast bombs and he was missing me. Then he caught me and he got the job done."

Katsidis, 29, had words of encouragement for his younger opponent, but was also understandably proud of his own achievements in defending his world title more than 10,000 miles from his native Toowoomba in Queensland, Australia.

"There's nothing negative I can say about Kevin's performance. More to the point, I have come up a level on previous fights. I've taken on board the experience from the losses and I can say that the crew have been excellent to work with, as we had plenty of notice which helped my preparation.

"I put this down to me being at my best and doing my job right. Against a lot of the other guys that I have fought, Kevin would have got a fantastic result and I wish him all the best. He's got a great career ahead of him."