PZ: You have only last 1 in 13 fights and not dropped that many rounds in your 12 wins. Why did you stop boxing?
VM: There wasn’t a definitive moment where I thought it’s time to stop. I should have never taken the fight with Jon Baguley which I lost before my last fight. I was very ill about three days before the fight, but there was no way I was going to pull out of the show. However, three months later I fought on the undercard on my brother’s bill at West Ham against Daniel Thorpe and won every round. So I didn’t stop because I was on a losing streak.
To be honest, I have never not been in the gym, and had a couple of dates organised for fights which Frank Warren had organised, but one I had to pull out because I broke my ribs after sparring with Colin Lynes, and the other fight I came down ill. After that, due to not fighting regularly, business dried up for me. However, now I am back into full training and letting everybody know that I am ready to jump back in the ring.
I’m getting my weight down, I’m no longer coming to the gym for a couple of days and then disappearing for a couple of weeks. Those days are gone. I’m back in full training and mean business.
PZ: What is your motivation this time round to get back into the ring?
VM: I’ve had my little girl recently, so that’s given me motivation to get my training back into motion and crack on again. It’s not just for her, but it’s the fact that the style of life that comes with having a child has turned me into a family man. For training purposes this will ensure I stay as focused as possible.
PZ: Your brother Kevin had a bit of a rough patch after the Katsidis fight and then came back ten times the fighter and now has the whole nation behind him ahead of the Burns fight. How much does Kevin inspire you that coming back successfully is possible?
VM: My brother had troubles in the lead up to that fight and then obviously after. Losing didn’t help out. However, showing the way he picked himself up is a big inspiration and is an example that it can be done. I’m lucky that I have him to look up to. He’s my idol. How many people can say they have an older brother who has achieved what Kevin has!!
PZ: You only have one loss on your record, Jon Baguley. Would you like to avenge that loss?
VM: Definitely. It’s certainly something I would like to do. I’ve had two years out of the ring now, so fighting Jon could be a good warm up fight. My intention is to start back on six rounds and then work through eight and ten rounds heading hopefully towards an English title. You’ve got to remember that I beat Jon earlier in my career, so I don’t feel it’s my ultimate goal to avenge the loss, but I would certainly like to make it the best of three and come out on top.
PZ: I’m also interviewing Robin Deakin this week. Would you fancy fighting him for the 3rd time?
VM: I think it would be a good warm up fight to get me back into the swing of things, but in terms of business, it would be more of a payday for Robin as opposed to a career move for me. Let me just say though that Robin is a good friend of mine now, so I have full respect for him and mean no harm by what I’m saying about him.
The first fight we had I think he was at his most fresh and he genuinely caught me early on in the fight, but I came back and beat him for the rest of the fight. In between the second fight we kind of went our separate ways career wise, in that he has loss after loss and I had a run of wins and that really showed in our second fight as I was in much better condition and control.
If Robin wants to do it for the third time, I’m always open for business.
PZ: What’s your plans now you are back full time? Any title hopes?
VM: I would like to achieve the biggest goals I can. I know my potential as a fighter and know I can win a British title. That will then open more doors including the Southern Area and Commonwealth. However, as I said I need a few warm up fights first, and at the age of 25 I’m a much more mature individual than ever before, and that will show in the ring. I’m ready to open those big doors.
PZ: Who is training you at the moment?
VM: I’ve always worked with Frank Warren and Dean Powell, so I would like to go back to work with them. Frank puts on the big shows and he pays well, so I would like to get him to promote and Dean to manage me.
Jimmy is my main trainer, but when Kevin and Billy (Joe Saunders) are away training I’m mainly in with Mark. I’ve got to say that Mark is a great trainer and an excellent person to have around the gym. He’s never dull, always bubbly, and keeps fighters on their feet. His character makes training more of a pleasure as well as a lesson. I think he is currently a young Jimmy Tibbs, and that’s meant as a massive compliment. I really hope I get to train more with him as he has all the tools to make me the best I can be.
PZ: Have you sparred much with guys at the TKO Gym?
VM: In my amateur career I used to spar a lot with Freddie Luke Turner. Freddie has got a lot bigger since those days! I’ve sparred with Billy Morgan before, but it’s been a while, so would love to get back in the ring with him because he has come on bundles.
Gary Corcoran I sparred with a couple of years ago just before I left the gym. He’s a very tough fighter who has 110% heart and dedication. Always in the gym and certainly has some lungs on him! He goes round after round and just doesn’t tire out.
There’s some really good guys in the gym at the moment. Another one who is great to watch is Frank Buglioni. He reminds me of a young Oscar De La Hoya. Good mover and hits like a horses kick! He will do very well.
PZ: Tell us how you see the fight with Kevin (Mitchell) and Ricky Burns going?
VM: I have a lot of respect for Ricky Burns. I think he has achieved where he has go to so far through hard work and dedication. I think my brother has the added bonus of a lot of skill in addition to hard work and dedication, and my personal opinion is that he will beat Burns between rounds 9-12 with a stoppage. Kevin will need to be 110% for this fight though because Burns will be in the shape of his life. If it goes to points, Burns could be in with a chance to win.
Looking at Ricky’s previous fights against say Carl Johanneson and Alex Arthur, he was dropped a couple of times, by people who can punch hard. My brother has only lost one fight in 34 and has 24 KO’s and I just think his skill and devastating punch power will be too much for Burns. Look at the way he broke through John Murray’s guard.
PZ: Will you be going up to Glasgow to see the fight?
VM: I certainly will, but not sure if I will fly or get the train yet!
PZ: Tell us a bit more about Vinny Mitchell outside of the ring. What do you do when you are not training?
VM: If I have to be honest, for the last two months, I’ve been doing nothing but training and am loving getting back into the swing of things. Every day I wake up all I think about is gym, gym, gym. When I finish a run I text Mark (Tibbs) to let him know, to show my dedication, but also to prove to myself that I’m back full time and serious.
PZ: Taking a step back, who first got you interested in boxing?
VM: My sister’s ex boyfriend Jamie Williams used to go to the gym all the time and Kevin started tagging along at about 9 or 10 years old. I wasn’t interested at that point, and was happy to play on my computer!
A few years later I decided to give it a go, and to be honest, up to about 13 or 14 fights I had nothing special about my boxing style, just dedication. I then decided to go to West Ham ABC with Mickey May and before I knew it I had 28 fights unbeaten and won four national titles, all through hard work and dedication. As I got older I developed the skill, and having Kevin in the gym also spurred me on.
PZ: Apart from Kevin, any other fighters in your family?
VM: Not at our level. I think a few other family members had boxed a little, but my brother has better knowledge on that and can tell you the ins and out of our family!
PZ: Would you want your children to box?
VM: No. I have a little girl at the moment so I hope not! I wouldn’t want her to get knocked about. Boxing is a hard lifestyle and even if I have a son, I would hope that I have earned enough money so that he would not have to box and choose another lifestyle.
However, if it’s in their heart to fight, I would obviously back them with anything they do. But I would not want to introduce boxing to them as I would not want to see them getting hurt. Fighting is the easy part – it’s the style of life that goes with fighting that is very hard.
PZ: Tell the readers one thing about yourself that not many people know?
VM: Everybody knows me around here, so no secrets mate!