THE biggest all Victorian derby in three decades is on the verge of being finalised.
After years of failed negotiations, the paths of world rated super middleweight pair Zac Dunn and Jayde Mitchell seem destined to cross, with a mouth-watering collision on the cards for February.
Chasing different versions of the super middleweight championship, the team of the WBA-inclined Dunn (29-1, 24 KOs) has expressed interest in an unofficial world title eliminator.
Dunn’s former manager and promoter, Barry Michael, who is still involved in an official capacity, has voiced his desire to make the fight happen.
The interest was sparked on the back of remarks from Mitchell (19-1, 10 KOs) labelling Dunn as a ‘pretender’, which appeared on social media last week.
“I always knew that Zac will fight anyone. He didn’t know the extent of what was going on,” Michael told Aus-Boxing.
“When he found out about the ‘pretender’ comment from Jayde, he was very upset.”
Michael, a former super featherweight titleholder, pulled no punches when offering a harsh assessment of Mitchell’s career, given the parallels between both teams.
“It’s a bit of an insult coming from someone like Jayde, who in reality has been babied, the bulk of Jayde’s fights have been well picked for him,” he explained.
“Yes, he’s fought some good fighters, for sure, but no one as good as Zac has fought. It looks like the fight is going to work. February next year, hopefully.”
Mitchell, 33, is set to face former WBA interim titleholder Stanislav Kashtanov (36-4, 21 KOs) in the biggest test of his professional career at the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna next month.
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📆4 WEEKS TO GO🇦🇺🤜🏼💥🤛🏼🇷🇺. . The biggest fight of my career is only 4 weeks away! November 23rd at the State Basketball Centre in Wantirna I prove to everyone I belong with the elite! This is the start of something big 👊🏼🌏☝🏼. . CONTACT. @teegsmitchell TEGAN MITCHELL FOR TICKETS 🎫ASAP!!! This fight this fight will be a war your support is greatly appreciated #PeninsulaPride #TeamJMitch #MitchellVsKashtanov #HoskingPromotions #makingithappen #WAR #WARJ_MITCH #Repost @ausboxing ・・・ A career-best challenge for @jmitch_boxing. The Victorian's world level ambitions will be tested by former super middleweight titleholder Stanislav Kashtanov next month. . #ozboxing #boxing
Providing the Peninsula-based switch-hitter is victorious against the hard-nosed Russian, Michael sees few reasons why the bout can’t be signed, but understands the looming risk at hand.
“Nervous is probably the best explanation for us looking at Jayde’s next fight,” he said.
“Having looked at Stanislav – he’s undoubtedly past his best – but he’s a quality fighter and been a world champion as well. Jayde needed to step up anyway, so good luck to him, and I’m pleased for him.
“It’s good for Jayde that he gets some time to get another fight in before a fight with Zac.”
When probed on the previous dismissal of Mitchell as an opponent for the 28-year-old Dunn, Michael made reference to bigger fights that failed to come to life, including a world title opportunity.
“To be honest, they’ve both been going down their separate paths,” he continued.
“Zac has been close to getting a world title fight, including a shot against Billy Joe Saunders, we’ve been closing in on a world title fight. Regardless, Zac would’ve always been up for this fight, I want to emphasise that.
“There’s been decisions made that Zac wouldn’t of known about. He hasn’t realised that Jayde has been challenging him all this time.”
If the high-profile domestic showdown is locked in, Michael admits that the loser will likely move towards retirement.
“The winner goes forward, the loser goes back. It’s a bit like Joel Camilleri and Tim Tszyu, but bigger,” he concluded.
“I think the winner goes on and the other stagnates. Whoever loses that fight, it’s going to hurt their career. But it also depends on how it goes. If Jayde knocks Zac out, his career is done, and vice versa for Jayde.”