Mitchell went to Twitter on Thursday to end weeks of speculation as to when he would enter the ring again after withdrawing from a fight originally scheduled for July 14. Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 knockouts) had been slated to fight Banks in Las Vegas that evening as the co-main event on a card that also featured Amir Khan against Danny Garcia.
“I was happy to get the call” confirming the fight, Mitchell said. “I’ve been in the gym, but I’ve still got to be smart and not overtrain. I’m definitely in a different mind-set, pacing myself and getting ready for the fight.”
Mitchell pulled out of the fight when a visit to the orthopedist revealed a sprained MCL in his right hand. The injury occurred in Mitchell’s bout against Chazz Witherspoon on April 28 in Atlantic City for the vacant North American Boxing Organization belt.
Mitchell, 29, won by technical knockout in the third round and later indicated he hurt his hand well before connecting with a left hook that sent Witherspoon to the canvas. Mitchell then continued to punish Witherspoon, sending him into the ropes before referee Randy Neumann stopped the fight at 2 minutes 31 seconds.
Witherspoon was Mitchell’s most highly regarded opponent to that point, having lost only twice entering the fight, once each to championship contenders Tony Thompson and Chris Arreola. Mitchell, an All-Met football player from Gwynn Park, has won his last nine fights by knockout, and none went beyond five rounds.
Banks (28-1-1, 18 KOs) has had four of his past five fights go the distance, most recently winning a unanimous 12-round decision over Nicolai Firtha in Munich for the North American Boxing Federation title. The 30-year-old Detroit native’s only loss came against Tomasz Adamek on Feb. 27, 2009, for the International Boxing Federation cruiserweight title.
Another convincing win for Mitchell would move him closer to a long-anticipated bout with unified heavyweight champion Vladimir Klitschko, who has listed Mitchell among the opponents he would consider fighting.
“That’s ultimately where I want to be, the heavyweight champion of the world,” Mitchell said. “That’s definitely something I think about; but at the same time, I know I have to continue to do what I’m doing. If I don’t, then it’s just going to take a longer time for me to get there.”