THE stakes have never been higher for Jayde Mitchell.
Twelve months ago, the world rated super middleweight was in an unenviable position, fighting to retain his position amongst a slew of governing bodies, and with no real direction.
A patch of inactivity followed, which forced the 33-year-old to revaluate the trajectory of his career, and make wholesale changes to suit. Simply put, Mitchell (19-1, 10 KOs) wasn’t living the lifestyle of a professional athlete.
Now within reach of the first televised opportunity of his career, as the lead attraction and main event, Mitchell believes things have finally fallen into place.
“I’ve earned this, it’s been a long time coming,” he told Aus-Boxing.
“The thing is, it couldn’t be more perfect with the timing. I’ve addressed the injuries I’ve had, any nutrition issues, now I’m giving myself every chance to reach my potential.
“I had one foot in and one foot out, especially when I was still working. It’s taken all this time to repair my damaged body. Because I started late, I’d always rush into fights to get momentum.
“I can’t do that any more, I realise it’s my time now, so it has to be done properly. It has to be done right, people before were seeing me fight while nursing injuries, not anymore.
“When I had the tear in my labrum, I’d have nights in the gym where I’d throw shots properly, then take the rest of the week off. I was eating lollies, and not doing the right things, it was a real tough time last year.
“Not only was I trying to convince Lenifer (Mitchell’s trainer) but also myself. For any fighter, that’s tough.”
With his well-documented struggles with injury now behind him, Mitchell can build towards and should be the first genuine purple patch of his punch-for-pay career.
The road-less travelled may have presented its unique set of challenges, but the ability to overcome them has left the popular Peninsula product in a good place, having signed a lucrative deal with Victorian-based firm; Hosking Promotions.
“Those injuries and time off, it’s still a big mental thing to get over,” he explained.
“For the first time in my career, I’ve been able to spar ten rounds, with fresh world class partners, on alternate days. That’s helped my mindset a lot.
“I know that the distance and having the workrate that I carry isn’t going to be an issue. I’m not going to run out of steam.”
Mitchell will be greeted in the opposite corner by one of the best fighters to visit our shores this year in former WBA interim titleholder Stanislav Kashtanov (36-4, 21 KOs) on Saturday night.
The experienced 35-year-old, who fell agonisingly short of lifting a second belt in as many divisions, is without doubt the toughest challenge of Mitchell’s career.
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🇦🇺🤜🏼THE STAGE IS SET🤛🏼🇷🇺. It’s all up to me now👊🏼🌏☝🏼 . Tune into Fox Sports channel 506 from 7pm tomorrow night or to come support me in action general admission available on the door! . #TeamJMitch #boxing #ausboxing #MitchellVsKashtanov #formerworldchampvsfutureworldchamp #itsmytime #hoskingpromotions #dandlevents #NationalBoxingSeries
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But as Mitchell sees it, he’s now motivated to perform at the highest kneel, given the potential implications of not being at his best.
“It’s going to be great to fight a world class fighter, over a long distance,” he continued.
“This will help me prove that I belong at this level, and that my body isn’t going to let me down.”
“I haven’t had to search for any motivation for this fight. As soon as I got the list of opponents, his name jumped out of me. I knew he was a former world champion, he was known to me. He was a split decision away from becoming a dual weight world champion.
“The fact that my body has held up, has my confidence at an all-time high. This is huge. I’ve been given every opportunity with this event to shine.
“The rest is up to me, that’s pretty cut and dry. Brock Jarvis was supposed to be on this card, and I look forward to sharing cards with him in the future.
“But I know that November 23rd is all about me, and I’ve got the correct dance partner to make it something special. This is my coming out party as a real contender. This proves that I belong with the best in the world.”
Mitchell entered the professional game with a no frills approach and minimal hype. Without the backing of a major promoter, he’s had to work for everything he now has; regional belts, world ratings, popularity and most importantly, legitimacy.
Because of the adversity he’s faced, the road to the televised opportunity that has now been afforded to him, makes the journey one well worth travelling.
“I feel that I’ve really earned this and my trajectory into this has been so different,” he concluded.
“I’m not some hot shot that’s come out of the amateurs that’s been invested in. We’ve done it on our terms, I’ve taken real fights against everyone’s advice, and earned everything that I’ve got along the way.
“I was a fat drunk, and a concreter for some time. I had such a different path to where I am now, to be recognised by my peers, people in the know and people who are investing in the next generation, means everything to me.
“It all lies on me to make good of the opportunity I’ve been given. I’m only one or two fights away from a world title fight. The fights we’ve got in the pipeline are what I need to get myself ready.”
Mitchell has also gained motivation from the meteoric rise of Andrew and Jason Moloney, who have soared to world level in recent months.
“I look at Team Moloney and the fights that Lynden Hosking invested in to get them read. I’ve got those chances now,” he concluded.
“Look at Andrew Moloney, look at Jason, this is what I want for myself.
“Knowing that there’s a plan going forward, and that I’m going to be invested in, that we get to fight world class fighters on our terms, in my backyard and on TV, makes the world of difference.
“Everything I’ve ever dreamed on, and finally the day has come. There is no way that I’m going to let this opportunity pass without giving my absolute all.
“The end goal is looking after myself and my family when all of this comes to fruition.”