Two top American heavyweights will clash on April 28th.
Top Flight American Heavyweights Meet in Co-Feature of Hopkins-Dawson
Before WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 34 KOs) defends his title against Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs) on April 28th, two top American heavyweight prospects will kick off the live HBO telecast at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. A pair of college graduates in former Michigan State linebacker Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell (24-0-1, 18 KOs) and St. Joseph’s degree holder “The Gentleman” Chazz Witherspoon (30-2, 22 KOs) are the duo set to clash in this co-feature, with the victor emerging as the new NABO Heavyweight Champion.
“I just want to thank God for giving me this opportunity,” Mitchell said of the encounter. “I want to thank everyone that made this possible - Golden Boy, my team, my management. I want to thank Chazz for accepting the fight. I don't know about you all, but I'm very excited for this fight. I know Chazz is training extremely hard. I'm training extremely hard. It's going to be a good fight.”
Mitchell shined when he played middle linebacker at Michigan State until injury forced him to put the pads away for good. Unable to play the game he loved anymore, he finished up a degree in Criminal Justice and then set out to pursue a career in that field. Everything changed when he saw then Notre Dame and current Indianapolis Colts safety Tom Zbikowski win his professional boxing debut at Madison Square Garden in 2006, and the Maryland native decided to strap up and give boxing a try himself. After just 10 amateur bouts, Mitchell turned pro in 2008 and was signed by Golden Boy after just a pair of fights. In 25 total bouts as a professional, he has since emerged as a top contender in the heavyweight division, going unbeaten with 18 total knockouts.
“I feel really blessed to have this opportunity to take this fight with Seth,” Witherspoon commented in a similar fashion to how Mitchell did. “I appreciate Golden Boy, and Seth, and everybody who made this possible, HBO. I'm just happy to be here.”
Witherspoon began his amateur boxing career while he was a sophomore at St. Joseph’s University. With just a year under his belt, he won a Pennsylvania State Golden Gloves Championship and eventually became a 2004 alternate to the USA Olympic Boxing Team. The Philadelphia resident was then undefeated in his first 23 professional bouts before suffering a disqualification loss to Chris Arreola in 2008. He has since suffered defeat just one time in eight fights, a TKO loss to fellow contender Tony Thompson, and owns 30 wins overall on his professional resume.
This contest marks the first for Witherspoon under the guidance of trainer Virgil Hunter, and he also brought another well recognized name onto his management team since he last time he stepped in the ring - former heavyweight champion Ken Norton.
“My dad's brother is the lead singer for the group Cameo,” Witherspoon said of how the relationship developed. “Larry Blackmon is my uncle, and I was talking with my uncle. And I was telling him that I was thinking about getting some new management. He was telling me that he had some friends, some buddies that do some stuff with music and do some stuff with Hollywood. Then he mentioned that one of his friends were really good friends with Ken Norton. So they talked to Ken about me, and Ken got really excited. Steve Russo and Ken got together. They came up with Jawbreaker Management, and then he took me on. So I'm the only boxer they have right now, but they're doing good for me.”
Witherspoon now hopes it will do good for him in the ring on April 28th when he looks to put the first blemish onto the record of Mitchell. A win for either fighter not only gives him the NABO Title, but it would also elevate him further into contention for one of the world championship belts.
Tickets for “Hopkins vs. Dawson: Once and For All” are currently on sale through TicketMaster, ranging in price from $25-300. For those unable to attend in person, the live HBO telecast will hit the air at 10:15 p.m. EST with Mitchell vs. Witherspoon in the co-feature event of the show.