Seth Mitchell continued his rise in the heavyweight ranks with a knockout victory April 28 over Chazz Witherspoon. The fight at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City for the vacant North American Boxing Organization (NABO) belt was stopped in the third round.
Mitchell had Witherspoon wobbling and on the ropes at 2 minutes 31 seconds of the third round before referee Randy Neumann separated the fighters, keeping Mitchell firmly on his path toward a world heavyweight title shot against unified champion Wladimir Klitschko.
The unbeaten Brandywine, Md., native had to come back after a first round in which Witherspoon hurt the 10-1 favorite with multiple combinations. Mitchell appeared close to going down, but a big second round allowed him to get his legs back under him and place the momentum on his side.
Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 knockouts) dropped Witherspoon with a big left hook early in the third round and continued his attack after Witherspoon returned to his feet. Landing a barrage of body shots, Mitchell got inside almost at will.
Then came the decisive third round in which Mitchell had the Philadelphia native backing up from the very beginning. Witherspoon (30-3, 22 KOs) was obviously overmatched as evidenced by Mitchell's 51-11 advantage in power shots in Rounds 2 and 3.
"I was working my right hand," Mitchell said. "I knew he was coming to fight. I'm going to be honest, I was nervous for this fight because he has a lot of experience. In the heavyweight division, it only takes one shot. I could see it in his eyes. He was coming for me, but I never stopped using my body shots. They were slowing him down and he had no defense for them."
Mitchell last fought on December 10, 2011 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center where he won via second-round TKO over Timur Ibragimov in a performance that continued to increase his standing as a real contender for the unified heavyweight title. Prior to that fight, Ibragimov had never been knocked out and Mitchell defeated the Uzbeki fighter without much difficulty.
Now, Mitchell has his sights on the heavyweight belts, and defeating Witherspoon moves him closer to reaching his goal.
"I believe I need a few more fights," Mitchell said last week when asked if he was ready to challenge Klitschko. "I'm not that far away. I believe this time next year, three or four more fights, I think if I win I would have earned my opportunity."