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Brian Mitchell

Titles: WBA jr. lightweight champion 1986-1991, IBF jr lightweight champion 1991

Record: 45-1-3 

Born: August 30, 1961 in Johannesburg, South Africa

Years active: 1981-1995

Nickname:  None 

This might be a bit politically incorrect but I think the best way to describe Brian 
Mitchell is as the white Azumah Nelson. Mitchell like Nelson had to travel the world to 
face champions and challengers on their home soil. Azumah did it for economic reason 
while Mitchell was driven overseas by a ban of the IBF, WBC and WBA of South Africa for
it's apartheid policy of race separation. Mitchell was a opponent of apartheid and 
publicly spoke out against it and fought the majority of his early fights against black 
men. He even gained fan support in the black townships for his willingness to fight 
there. Yet Brian still had to fight outside of his native South Africa if a world title 
was at stake. When asked about the WBA and WBC not allowing him to fight at home he 
simply stated "I'm not a politician, I'm a sportsman. You can not choose your 
birthplace." Mitchell did not possess one singularly great asset as a boxer but did 
everything well, if there was one aspect to him that made him great it was his ability to 
choose he right punch at the right moment. His handspeed and power was average, but his 
accuracy and willingness to take shots in order to deliver body punishment set him apart. 
And just maybe above all he could not afford to loose as his skills and unfortunate birth 
place would give any champion a excuse for not fighting Mitchell. Mitchell fought the 
world over in defense of his crown in places like Italy, Spain, England, France, Panama, 
Puerto Rico and America. In all cases he was the enemy and endured much (especially from 
protestors out of the ring) to retain his title. After winning the title from Alfredo 
Layne he would go on to defend his WBA super featherweight title 12 times in 5 years 
before giving it up to defend  his IBF title for more money and a sense revenge. Mitchell 
began his career in 1981 wining his first 5 fights in and around Johannesburg. In his 
second year as a pro Mitchell would suffer the only defeat of his career as he took on 
the more experienced Jacob Morake for the Transvaal title. It had only been 9 months 
since he had turned pro and he was probably thrown into the 10 round event too soon. Not 
a man to leave a job unfinished Mitchell avenged that lone loss on his record twice via 
12 round decisions. Over the next five years Mitchell would take on the best boxers of 
all colors from South Africa, winning and retaining the South African super featherweight 
title 8 times while averaging 5 fights a year in that 4 year span. It was a great proving 
ground as Mitchell learned in preparations for the world title shot to come. That 
opportunity came in September of 1986 against the streaking Alfredo Layne who had just 
knocked out the legendary Wilfredo Gomez. The title fight would take place in the 
neighboring country of Bophutaswana (two weeks later South Africa was punished by world 
bodies for its racial policies) and Brian took advantage by dominating the bout after a 
rocky beginning to the fight for him. Mitchell overcame the slow start and halted the 
outclassed Layne in 10 rounds. The first title defense for Mitchell was not a glorious 
one as Mitchell fought 12 hard rounds in Puerto Rico against Jose Rivera, but most 
observers think Mitchell had done enough to earn a draw at the very least in the Puerto 
Rican's home turf. Now Mitchell would begin his world tour defeating Panamanian Rocky 
Fernandez in Panama, Frenchman Daniel Londas in France, Italian Salvatore Curcetti in 
Italy before beating Rivera in a return fight via impressive 12 round decision in Madrid. 
2 more wins over nationals in England and Italy set up Mitchell for a run at the American 
shores. Any doubts of the skills of Mitchell by the American fight fraternity were put to 
rest when Mitchell defeated 4 American contenders, Jackie Beard (twice), Irving Mitchell 
and Frankie Mitchell. By now Mitchell had pretty much become the undisputed super 
featherweight champion with wins over most of the quality challengers available while 
returning home to fight non-title bouts. His wins in America set up a lucrative fight 
with IBF title holder Tony Lopez. The first fight with Tony "The Tiger" Lopez was a 
fantastic contest fought in front of 10,000 partisan Lopez fans. Not only was it a great 
offensive treat but during portions of the bout each man showed very good defensive 
abilities to see them through needed rests. It seemed as if each round was a fight of its 
own as the fight swayed in the favor of one boxer to the other. Some think Mitchell had 
pulled the fight out in the later rounds, but the judges scored the fight a draw which 
given the pace of the fight is hard to argue with. One judge awarded the fight to Lopez, 
the other to Mitchell with the third scoring the bout a draw. The only sad part of the 
fight was that it was only aired overseas and not seen in the USA! The fight screamed for 
a rematch which came in March of the same year. Mitchell was still outraged by the 
scoring of the first fight and gave up his WBA belt to fight Lopez a second time. The 
fight was once again held in Lopez' hometown, but this time the results would not be hard 
to score. It was a lopsided win for Mitchell as he countered the often off balance and 
inaccurate Lopez at will, Lopez was game and fortunate to finish the fight on his feet. 
All three judges scored the return match for Mitchell by wide margins. After beating 
Lopez, Mitchell surprisingly announced his retirement. Of course no boxer really retires 
and after two years of the training boxers Mitchell returned to boxing. Unlike most 
comebacks this one did not end with a loss. Mitchell fought once a year in 1994 and 1995 
against moderate boxers and won both fights with little trouble. With no title shot in 
the near future Mitchell decided to retire again...... this time for good. Now Mitchell 
is a top trainer in South Africa looking after the young prospects of the highest profile 
national promoter.


Brian Mitchell

Career Record: 45 W, 1 L, 3 D (21 K.O's)


                                      1981 

 Aug 15	Josef Mosoane		Johannesburg		W 4
 Sep 19	Bushy Mosoeu		Johannesburg		W 4
 Oct 3	Tandi Mayisela		Johannesburg		W 4
 Oct 31	Simon Zondo		Johannesburg		KO 4
 Nov 30	Mose Mthiayane		Durban, South Africa	KO 4
 
                                      1982 

 Feb 6	Phanuel Mosoane		Johannesburg		KO 2
 May 1	Jacob Morake		Springs, South Africa	L 10
 May 17	Joseph Tstotetsi	Johannesburg		W 6
 Jun 26	Moses Sithebe		Orkney, South Africa	KO 3
 Jul 30	Frank Khonkhobe		Sebokeng, South Africa	D 6
 Oct 15	Frank Khonkhobe		Diepkloof, South Africa W 10
 
                                      1983 

 Mar 14	Jerome Gumede		Durban, South Africa	W 8
 Apr 9	Chris Whiteboy		Orkney, South Africa	KO 9	
 	(Wins South African Jr. Lightweight Title)
 May 2	Bashew Sibaca		Durban, South Africa	W 10
 Jun 27	Graham Gcola		Johannesburg		KO 2
 	(Retains South African Jr. Lightweight Title)
 Aug 6	Jacob Morake		Johannesburg		W 12
 	(Retains South African Jr. Lightweight Title)
 Nov 21	Frank Khonkhobe		Johannesburg		W 12
 	(Retains South African Jr. Lightweight Title)
 Dec 19	Blessing Ndlele		Durban, South Africa	KO 1
 
                                       1984 
 
 Mar 2	Jacob Morake		Springs, South Africa	W 12
 	(Retains South African Jr. Lightweight Title)
 Mar 31	Carlos Miguel Rodriguez Johannesburg		KO 4
 Apr 16	Iland Matthews		Welkom, South Africa	W 6
 Aug 2	Nika Khumalo		Cape Town, South Africa KO 2
 	(Retains South African Jr. Lightweight Title)
 Dec 1	Aladin Stevens		Sun City, Bophtswana	W 8
  
                                       1985 

 Feb 11	Nyungi Mtiya		Boksburg, South Africa	KO 3
 Mar 30	Carlos Rodriguez	Sun City, Bophtswana	KO 7
 Apr 27	Vicente Jorge		Johannesburg		KO 7
 Jul 27	Job Sisanga		Sun City, Bophtswana	W 8
 Nov 2	Jacob Morakey		Sun City, Bophtswana	KO 12
 	(Retains South African Jr. Lightweight Title)
 
                                        1986 

 Mar 1	Julio Ruiz		Sun City, Bophtswana	KO 6
 Jun 14	Bushy Mosoeu		Sun City, Bophtswana	W 12
 	(Retains South African Jr. Lightweight)
 Sep 27	Alfredo Layne   	Sun City, Bophtswana	KO 10
 	(Wins WBA and World Jr. Lightweight Titles)
  
                                       1987 

 Mar 27	Jose Rivera		San Juan		W 15
 	(Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)
 May 16	Aurelio Benitez		Sun City, Bophtswana	KO 2
 Jul 31	Francisco Fernandez	Panama City		KO 14
 	(Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)
 Oct 3	Daniel Londas		Gravelines, France	W 15
 	(Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)
 Dec 19	Salvatore Curcetti	Capo d'Orlando, Italy	KO 9
 	(Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)

                                       1988  
 
 Apr 26	Jose Rivera		Madrid			W 12
 	(Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)
 Jun 4	Danilo Cabrera		Johannesburg		W 10
 Nov 2	Jim McDonnell		London			W 12
 	(Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)
 
                                       1989 

 Feb 11	Salvatore Bottiglieri	Capo d'Orlando, Italy	KO 8
 	(Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)
 Jul 2	Jackie Beard		Crotone, Italy		TW 9
 	(Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)
 Sep 28	Irving Mitchell		Lewiston, ME		KO 7
 	(Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)
 Nov 11	Felipe Orozco		Sun City, Bophtswana	W 10
 
                                       1990 

 Mar 15	Jackie Beard		Grosseto, Italy		W 12
 	(Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)
 Sep 29	Frank Mitchell		Aosta, Italy		W 12
 	(Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)
 
                                      1991 

 Mar 15	Tony Lopez		Sacramento, CA 		D 12
 	(For IBF, Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)
 	Stripped By WBA
 Sep 13	Tony Lopez		Sacramento, CA		W 12
 	(Wins IBF, Retains World Jr. Lightweight Title)
   
                                      1992-1993  

 Inactive
 
                                        1994 

 Nov 26	Mike Evgen		South Africa		KO 6
 
                                      1995  

 Apr 1	Silverio Flores		Sun City, Bophtswana	W 10