A matrix of regional title implications have placed super middleweight duo Bilal Akkawy and Jayde Mitchell on an inevitable path to meet.
Since turning professional in 2011, hype has followed the pure punching power of Akkawy, 24, who has accumulated an impressive highlight reel of one punch finishes. But up until his career-best win over former European middleweight champion Kerry Hope, he was deemed as an unknown quantity due to the limited nature of his preceding opponents.
However, the success of his maiden marquee win has now burdened Akkawy (14-0-1, 12 KOs) with the expectation to continue fighting a consistently higher caliber of opponent, which includes a mandatory date with popular Victorian resident Mitchell (14-1, 8 KOs), who holds the OPBF super middleweight strap, in addition to a WBA affiliated regional bauble where Akkawy has garnered the ‘Champion in Recess’ moniker.
Confusing lexicon aside, this means that sooner rather than later, the pair will be forced to fight. Which given the impressive run of mouthwatering matchups that have been granted in the last twelve months, is an undeniably good idea.
Mitchell, 31, has been on a tear since suffering his lone professional blemish in 2015, which culminated in an impressive decision win over previous OPBF ruler Shintaro Matsumoto to lift the aforementioned OPBF crown last October in Tokyo. The overseas triumph was sandwiched inbetween comprehensive victories over gatekeepers Nader Hamdan and Les Sherrington in Melbourne.
Although Mitchell has secured wins over some familiar names on his resume, he is yet to face a domestic rival at an indentical career pathway, making a potential Akkawy challenge all the more intriguing.
What the experts say (Ben Damon):
“This looms as an attractive domestic match-up between one of the biggest punchers at super middleweight in Australia and one of the slickest boxers.”
“Both parties have been dignified in early negotiations and it’s clear there is a desire to make the fight happen, but Akkawy hasn’t fought since last October while Mitchell is exceptionally busy. If Akkawy can find his way back into the world rankings the stakes here could be enormous, with both on the cusp of a world title shot in an entertaining and lucrative division.”
“If they met the assumption would be that Akkawy tags Mitchell with something big early, or Mitchell outboxes Akkawy for a clear decision victory.”