QUIETLY spoken Mitchel Stapleton has always let his actions do the talking – and on Saturday night, the rising star and prodigal son will go out smart in his final amateur hometown bout in the Nambucca Valley.
“I’m ready for anything,” the almost shy 18-year-old said ahead of his 50th fight – and it doesn’t come much bigger, against Newcastle’s Daniel Evans who will put the 71kg NSW title on the line.
It will be the head of the card in a festival of the fist night at the Nambucca Heads Bowling Club, and Mitchel’s penultimate outing as an amateur before he turns pro after one last dance at Bathurst on November 4.
Mitchel’s father and trainer isn’t too fussed about the result in what is sure to be another full house at Nambucca: “at this stage in his (amateur) career we’re not worried abouts wins and losses”.
But Mitchel, with the skin-fold of a greyhound and the hammer fists of Thor, wasn’t on message.
“I don’t know much about Daniel though I’ve heard he’s a counter-puncher. A boxer. That’s good. I’ve had a great preparation,” Mitchel told the Guardian.
That prep included an unsuccessful tilt at an Australian title just a few weeks back where Mitchel boxed well above his weight in a 75kg bout to get a match at Caloundra.
He’s also had a spar this month against a seasoned Argentinian pro who didn’t hold back against the youngster in a quality exchange.
And on Saturday it was another golden opportunity when he toughed it out with Australian No.3 Kyron Dryden – “and he handled him no worries”, trainer ‘Sparra’ Stapleton enthused.
Also in action in Newcastle was Nambucca’s Dale Strachan, who took every round against a Maitland pugilist, to break through for his first win in three bouts, though the other two were against far heavier opponents.
The second premier bout on the card at the Bowlo on Saturday will pit Woodburn’s Tyler White against tall timber (6 foot 8) Jack Morris in a Northern NSW super heavyweight title match.
The remaining headline match will see Nambucca’s Jay Melrose square off against Zac Cotten for the 81kg Northern NSW title.
And there will be plenty of other action to get the crowd whooping.
Mitchel’s sister Keeley will make a comeback after starting a family against good friend Crystal White in an exhibition flurry.
Dale Strachan will face Macksville’s Nathan Smythe, and young Nambucca talent Rhys Ferguson will meet Maitland’s Isaac Hawes.
Two other Macksville boys will also step between the ropes. Kyle Miller will go up against Grafton’s Brendan Cotten, while Mitchell Baker-Liebe will meet Taree’s Darren Fitzsimmons.
Tickets available at the Bowlo.