Luke Thomas of MMA Nation spoke with American heavyweight hopeful Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell, the former Michigan State football player whose career in boxing is still young, but starting to quickly rise. He's making his HBO debut with this fight, and Mitchell (23-0-1, 17 KO) will be fighting in his backyard in Washington, DC.
On his college football experience and his transition to boxing:
"It's not an easy transition. I've been fortunate and blessed enough to have had an easy carryover. When I say easy, I don't mean that I've put into it is not hard, because it's definitely tough. But I've just been fortunate to have as much success as I've had."
On his best weight:
"I like to come in between 241 and 243. Right now, when I woke up this morning, I was at about 245. That's my target weight, in the low 40s. ... In college I was high 40s. Not that much of a difference, but when you look at my body, I look a lot leaner. My muscles have elongated more. I don't lift for bulk, I lift for speed and endurance."
On whether his weight program is the same as college:
"Absolutely not. On a scale of one to ten, my weightlifting was a ten in college. It's probably about a two or three now. I don't lift that many weights. I don't lift any dumbbells that are over 30 pounds. If I can't rep it 25 to 30 times, I don't touch it. ... As a boxer, I feel you don't need a lot of bulk. You need to be able to go rounds, go the distance, and have that stamina. It's for muscle endurance."
On his experience differential against Ibragimov:
"He's wrong because he hasn't been in there with somebody like me. Somebody that's gonna bring the pressure, somebody that has speed, power, and athleticism. I think a lot of fighters, heavyweights, they see me and they know that I have power. But when they get in the ring, my speed and my athleticism shocks them. And I think that's gonna be to my advantage in the fight. I'm not underestimating him. I expect a tough fight. But I'm gonna win."
On where a win puts him:
"In my mind, it's just another step. I'm just trying to reach my goals and hopefully one day, become financially secure and win the heavyweight title. This just puts me one step closer."