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Jayde Mitchell: The rise of the ‘dad bod’ athlete

Jayde Mitchell: The rise of the ‘dad bod’ athlete

IF physical appearance was a measure of talent, Jayde Mitchell wouldn’t be on the cusp of a world title challenge.

The popular Peninsula resident hasn’t been gifted with athletic genes, nor does he pretend to care. Mitchell (20-1, 10 KOs) is a product of hard work, a genuine boxing brain and is the perfect example of an everyday Australian.

As he inches closer to the pinnacle of the punch-for-pay profession, the world rated super middleweight wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The physical appearance has nothing to do with how good you fight,” he told Aus-Boxing.

“The dad bods like myself do it better. Look at someone like Juan Diaz — he had a terrible physique for a lightweight — yet no one could go with him or match his work rate.

“I do the work, but there’s a big giant fat man inside of me. I think he’s dying to get out, but it is what it is. It’s stupid to put merit into that theory.

“There’s no doubting that I’m not a big super middleweight. But no matter how big and strong my opponent is, I’ll always meet them. At no time have I ever been physically overwhelmed.

“I think I’m smarter and that’s what it comes down to. My boxing IQ negates the more physical and stronger men.”

A six-year professional campaign has led the 34-year-old to the cusp of international recognition.

As Australia’s best continue to flirt with an elusive world championship, Mitchell sees merit in earning his opportunity with a series of credible wins on national television — a platform that is still dawning on him.

“I suppose you could say it’s still dawning on me,” he explained.

“The build-up for my fights has definitely changed. I’m doing interviews with mainstream media outlets and they want to do stuff like photoshoots now. Even on fight week, I’ve done a live cross with Fox Sports.

“Make no mistake, it’s a really cool part of this process, but it’s definitely a lot more work with running around.

”There’s no isolation with my fights anymore, particularly with the build-up. It feels real now, but I really believe this is the year for Australian boxing. Not just for me, but everyone. The sport is going to get the exposure it deserves.”

Like many fighters before him, Mitchell has been offered marquee fights at iconic venues across the world. However, an unfortunate series of injuries forced the regional titleholder to temporarily park those plans.

But with his body finally healed and with momentum truly on his side, the fleet-footed Mitchell has plans to enter the title picture, providing he disposes of Hungarian veteran Istvan Szili (23-2-2, 13 KOs) on Saturday night.

“I was offered a world title fight against Callum Smith at Madison Square Garden,” he revealed.

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“After that, I was also given a chance to fight Chris Eubank Jr, as well as David Benavidez. All of these big fights were taken off the table, because I couldn’t compete due to injury.

”I believe I can compete at the highest level, but I want to do it right. I believe I can do this, and I want to do it on my own terms. I don’t want to be gifted a shot, and I don’t want to be caught by surprise.

“Even though these title fights abroad have been lucrative and very tempting, I want to do it properly.”

Given his unique journey and equally distinctive fighting style, it makes sense that Mitchell would take pride in the journey of former titleholders that mirror his values.

“I believe I can be Australia’s version of Sergio Martinez,” he concluded.

“That man was in the same position as me. I see my Kashtanov fight as an equivalent to his with Kermit Cintron. It took him a little while to get that first title shot, but he had those massive opportunities and ruled for years to come.

”Because of the way I box, much like the great Sam Soliman, there’s no defined method. I break rhythm and I always vary my attacks. But in saying that, moving forward, it’ll change again by the time I get my shot.

“All I have to do is keep winning and I know the phone will definitely ring. It has in the past and it will again.

“This is my time now — and I’m ready to go — I want to grab it with both hands. Martinez came from relative obscurity, got his shot and the rest is history. I now want to create that for myself.”

Photo: Marty’s Knockout Photography

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