Kevin Mitchell eyes late WBO knockout of Ricky Burns

By Keir MurrayBBC Sport Scotland

Kevin Mitchell has predicted an explosive title bout against his friend Ricky Burns in Glasgow on Saturday and believes he can win by a knockout.

The pair will meet at the city's SECC when Burns, 29, defends his WBO world lightweight belt against the talented 27-year-old from Dagenham.

"It's going to be rough and ready, eight to 10 rounds, watch out for a knockout late," said the challenger.

"I've worked hard, I've rested well and I'm ready to get the job done now."

Mitchell expects plenty of vocal backing from his travelling army of fans in the 10,000-capacity arena and gives no hint that he will be intimidated by the boisterous home support.

"There are 1,500 fans coming up so it will be a laugh," said the Essex fighter, whose record of 33 wins in 34 bouts is certainly a match for Burns' 34 wins in 36 fights.

"I fought in front of 18,000 at Newcastle, 20,000 at the O2 Arena, 15,000 in America.

"It's good to be in crowds; it's nice."

Mitchell has been in the ring only twice since May 2010, when he lost to Michael Katsidis in a challenge for the interim WBO lightweight title.

However, he dismissed the notion that he could have lost the sharpness required for a tilt at a world title.

"The preparations have been going very well," he said.

"I believe ring-rustiness is all in your head. If you work hard and fast on the pads and in sparring you should be able to shake off the ring-rustiness.

"I had a long time off before [Breidis] Prescott and [John] Murray and I got in there and did the job.

"It's going to be an explosive fight, a little bit tactical, a bit rough and ready - a bit of both.

"Whatever comes, I'm ready for it."

Mitchell and Burns have developed a friendship over the years but, just as Burns indicated on Tuesday, the Englishman will focus solely on the job at hand come fight night.

"It's business. The way I look at, in my next fight I'll be world champion and I'll be defending it for a lot of money," explained Mitchell.

"We'll sort the friendship out after the fight.

"Now is the time to be serious with no messing around and that's what it's got to be like.

"He's a nice lad, we get along really well, but he is in my way and I'll have to take him out my way."

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