Seth Mitchell’s July fight canceled


Seth Mitchell connects to the head of Chazz Witherspoon during the first round of their NABO heavyweight title fight in Atlantic City on April 28. (Tim Shaffer /REUTERS)

Seth Mitchell’s next fight, scheduled for July 14, has been canceled because of a hand injury that has not healed fully from his last bout, the undefeated Brandywine heavyweight and his camp said on Friday.

Mitchell was set to face Johnathon Banks in Las Vegas in a little more than a month, but a recent visit to an orthopedist revealed a sprained MCL in his right hand incurred in his April 28 knockout of Chazz Witherspoon at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

“I’m disappointed, but I’m not down,” Mitchell said in a telephone interview. “I believe everything happens for a reason, and I’m just trying to stay optimistic.”

Manager Sharif Salim indicated Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 knockouts) is targeting September for his next fight, which tentatively remains against Banks (28-1-1, 18 knockouts). Mitchell will continue to train as usual with the exception of not striking the heavy bag with his ailing hand.

Mitchell is being especially cautious with a hand injury considering the power with which he punches. He has won his last 10 fights in a row by knockout, including dispatching Witherspoon, a former top heavyweight contender, in the third round.

Mitchell absorbed substantial punishment from Witherspoon in the first round of that fight and nearly went down to the canvas before surviving until the bell. From there, he became the aggressor and had Witherspoon constantly on the defensive before referee Randy Neumann intervened to stop the fight at 2 minutes 31 seconds in the third.

In the days following the bout, Mitchell recalled the area around his knuckles swelling, but he iced the hand and continued to train. When the swelling failed to diminish, he and his team opted to visit a medical professional, who advised against fighting in July.

“Seth is the hardest puncher pound for pound, and I’m not using hyperbole,” Salim said. “We have to take that into consideration with his hand and do what’s best for him.”

Gene Wang is a sports reporter covering multiple beats, including Navy football, the Capitals, Wizards, Nationals, women’s basketball, auto racing, boxing and golf. He also covers Fantasy Football.

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