This coming Friday we get the chance to see an OPBF Super Middleweight title bout, as Australian fighter Jayde Mitchell (14-1, 8) defends his title against Chinese challenger Ainiwaer Yilixiati (10-0, 8). For Mitchell the bout will be his first defense of the title whilst Yilixiati will be looking to score a career defining victory and prove that he is one of the most promising fighters from China.
The champion won the title last year, when he travelled to Japan and out pointed the limited Shintaro Matsumoto in Tokyo. Since then he has been busy, racking up 4 wins, all by stoppage, but not defending his OPBF title. His competition during those 4 stoppages hasn't been great, but he has been staying busy, staying fresh and preventing any risk of ring rust, whilst also gaining some valuable ring time.
In the ring Mitchell is a really nice to watch boxer. He's not a big puncher, despite his run of 4 stoppages, but he is a sharp and accurate fighter, with a solid work rate, nice movement and solid technical skills. Defensively he's a little bit lapse at times but throws nice counter shots and will tough to beat at this level, unless a fighter can either out work him and neutralise his counter punching, or can physically bully him.
Although talented Mitchell does always seem like an under-sized Super Middleweight. He seems to carry a bit of flab around the mid-section and looks like someone who could drop a weight, or two, if he really wanted to. At the age of 31 however it may well be a simple case of not wanting to move down, and being happy at 168lbs.
Aged 24 Yilixiati is one of a number of rising Chinese fighters who began to create a buzz for themselves as part of the “League of Fists” tournaments. He won the Super Middleweight crown there last year, and proved he could go 8 rounds in the final when he beat Chaogun Dong to score one of his most impressive wins to date. Since then he has gone 2-0 (2) with a notable stoppage against once promising Thai Chaloemporn Singwancha back in February.
Through his career so far the Chinese fighter has never fought outside of China, so fighting in Australia will be a big difference and will be one of the big things that he will have to adapt to. He has also never faced a fighter as skilled, or as sharp as Mitchell. If the location of the fight doesn't bother him he will potentially have a chance, however we have seen fighters travel horribly in the past, and that could be a problem here.
Stood at around 6” and with a long reach the Chinese fighter is a fully fledged Super Middleweight, with wide shoulders and a naturally powerful frame. In the ring he's slightly on the slow side but is very powerful, with even his jab looking like a hurtful shot. Although powerful he doesn't have the natural snap on his punches that the best schooled fighters do and a fighter like Mitchell could take advantage of that with his counters.
If Mitchell can control the range it's hard to see him losing here. However Yilixiati has got the power, size and strength to hurt him and if he can land his shots with regularity he has got the potential to break down and wear out the champion in the later rounds.
We suspect Mitchell will retain, though for the sake of Chinese boxing it would be amazing to see the challenger pick up the victory here.
(Image courtesy of https://aus-boxing.com/)
Earlier this year the Oriental boxing scene was shocked as the much unfancied Shintaro Matsumoto (13-4, 9) claimed the OPBF Super Middleweight title, upsetting former world title challenger Yuzo Kiyota. Part of the surprise was that Matsumoto managed to even see the final bell given he had been stopped twice previously by Kiyota, who had previously challenged for a world title.
This coming Monday Matsumoto looks to make the first defense of his title as he takes on once beaten Australian challenger Jayde Mitchell (9-1, 4) in one growing number of Japan Vs Australia bouts from this year.
The champion isn't anything special. Although he has 17 bouts not many of them are openly available to watch, but what there is out there certainly doesn't make him look anything particularly outstanding. He began his career back in 2008 and has suffered losses to Hiromitsu Miura, Robert Berridge and two defeats to Kiyota. Despite that he has improved in recent years and his win over Kiyota in April was, by far, his best win.
Matsumoto isn't the toughest, nor is he a big puncher, but he seems like the type of fighter who has started to bite down on his gum shield and refuse to go away quietly. He likely knows that another loss will be the end of his career and that could end either bring the best out of him going forward, or, potentially, see him essentially being happy to retire having claimed the OPBF title and gone further than almost anyone would have expected. That's not to say the title can't fill him with confidence and get the best out of him, but it could just mean that he's happy with what he's done and may be “happy” to know he's done more than most fighters.
Whilst footage of the champion is sparse there is plenty of footage of the visitor with the Australian having many of his fights currently available on youtube. Those include his opening round in over Gabor Farkas, who looked completely clueless in the ring. From the footage available Mitchell looks composed and patient. He's not the quickest, or most powerful, but comes into the ring with plenty of skill and nice timing. It is worth noting that he does look like a small Super Middleweight, almost a blown up Middleweight, but does have a lovely variety of shot, with his left hook to the body being very nice.
The footage of Mitchell makes him look like a pure boxer and we have seen him hurt before, with Francisco Benitez dropping him with a cuffing shot, even though the referee missed the call. He has however improved and matured from that bout, and at his best he looks really promising. There is however a lot between his promise and what he's delivered and this bout is a step up for the Aussie, who is fighting away from home for the first time.
Without trying to be mean to either fighter neither is exceptional, however that's part of the appeal here in what should be a really competitive bout. We think Michell is the better boxer, but he's a smaller Super Middleweight and is fighting in his opponents back yard, both of which may hinder him here. On neutral soil we'd favour Mitchell to get a close decision but in Japan though could be very, very close on the cards.
Having canned the old "Full Schedule" of Asianboxing we have instead decided to concentrate more on the major bouts. This section, the "Preview" section will look at major bouts involving OPBF and national titles. Hopefully leading to a more informative style for, you the reader.