Kevin Mitchell Stops Carl Johanneson In Nine Tough rounds, Unifies British And Commonwealth S.Feather Titles

By James Slater: Tonight in London, as chief support bout to the huge David Haye-Enzo Maccarinelli clash, unbeaten 23-year-old Kevin Mitchell out-toughed 29-year-old Carl Johanneson in 9 quite brutal rounds. Stopping the ever courageous Johanneson at 2 mins and 29 seconds of the 9th round, Mitchell added the British 130 pound belt to his Commonwealth crown.

The unbeaten Mitchell had a wonderful start, sweeping the first three rounds. But then, Carl, almost always a slow starter, got into things in a big way. After losing the first nine minutes - on this writer's card, anyway - Johanesson managed to drag the younger man into a trench warfare type of battle. Much to the delight of the 20,000 sell-out crowd, the action became quite gruelling.

The 5th was a superb round, as was the 6th. The sixth round was also somewhat controversial, as a right hand appeared to send Mitchell down. Kevin hit the mat, but the referee, Ian John-Lewis, scored no knockdown. Still, Johanneson certainly felt he'd scored a legitimate knockdown, and he went to work as soon as the action resumed. Trying his best to get Mitchell out of there, Carl had his man badly hurt at the end of the session. The drama was coming thick and heavy now.

A brutal battle continued through rounds seven and eight, and it was in no way clear who would win. Both fighters were sporting facial damage - Carl with a cut to the side of his right eye, and Kevin with a noticeable swelling underneath and to the side of his right eye - and the rounds were very close to score.

The end came in the 9th. With Johanneson looking as though he was wilting, a hard left hook to the head sent him down. Getting up, of course, the 29-year-old tried his best to weather the storm. It was not to be, however, and after a series of hurtful shots landed flush, the referee dived in to save Johanneson from further punishment There were no complaints from the beaten man's corner.

A great battle had been witnessed, and the main event (still to take place at the time of this writer's report) would have to go some to top this one.

The future looks great for the talented and fast handed Mitchell, who improved to 26-0(19) with the win. The future appears less certain for the vanquished Johanneson, who fell to 27-4(19).

Article posted on 09.03.2008

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