Heavyweight banks to put on a show

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist
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DETROIT - Johnathon Banks has some work to do to get ready for his next big fight.

And he wants to let his fans see his preparation.

That's why Banks, Kronk's own and the #2-ranked WBC heavyweight, is holding a public workout this Tuesday, June 11 at Ecorse High School at 4pm. Fans are welcome.

Banks, the WBC International Heavyweight Champion, has big upcoming fight, a rematch against Seth "Mayhem" Mitchell on June 22 live on Showtime.

For sure, Banks is opening up this workout to publicize the fight for the media and fans. But he also hopes some young people will get a kick out of seeing a top fighter from metro Detroit up close and in person.

"I hope to inspire the youth and anybody I can," said Banks, who will also talk about the fight on Sports Final Edition on June 16. "So many kids and youth see the big fights on TV but never get the chance to see the fighters train and get ready for the fight."

Banks, from Southfield, is happy to give back to his fans because they've been so supportive of him over the years.

"I am very happy with the fan support throughout my career from Michigan, my home," Banks said. "I love the fan support."

The two-long workout will include a sparring session. You can expect it to be thorough because Banks also knows something about training.

After the passing of boxing legend Emmanuel Steward, Banks assumed the role of head trainer of heavyweight champ Wladimir Klitschko.

"Emmanuel Steward taught me being a training isn't just giving someone water and telling them instructions about what to do," Banks said. "You have to have the ability to teach. I'm fortunate enough to have that ability.

"I feel it gives me an advantage to the point where I'm always learning something different about boxing."

As for the fight later this month at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, it's a rematch.

It's a big night for Banks, who will be celebrating his 31st birthday. He'll enter the fight 29-1-1, 19 wins by KO.

Banks said he doesn't expect to change his strategy this time around.

"I like to think the first game plan worked," Banks said. "So I'm going to stick with the same game plan, just be a little smarter about it.

"He's coming back a lot more motivated. He feels he knows me a little bit now. That's why I have to be better than the first time."

In their first meeting, Banks shocked the previously undefeated Mitchell with a second-round KO last Nov. 17th in Atlantic City. Mitchell had won his first 25 fights before that loss.

In fact, Mitchell, 31, who was a linebacker at Michigan State, had won his previous 10 fights via the knockout and all but one came in the first three rounds.

"It was definitely a different feeling watching a fight when you've lost and got popped," Mitchell told his local newspaper. "I wasn't over-confident, definitely was in shape, was fully prepared.

"But I just went out there and technically did things wrong. I was lunging and I was reaching against a counter-puncher and he made me pay for it."

Banks - who has just one loss since turning pro in 2004 - wasn't surprised he won, but that the fight ended so quickly. "Being able to catch him shocked a lot of people," he said. "It shocked me as well. I didn't think it would end so early. But nevertheless, I was prepared for him."

As you can imagine, Mitchell has been ready to see Banks again since that loss. But the original rematch in February was scrapped after Banks broke his right thumb two weeks before the fight.

Banks said he's all healed now. "The thumb is 100%," he said. "Everything is good. It's not an issue. I'm ready to go."

Mitchell said he was ready for the rematch and doesn't expect to make the same mistakes he made in first bout.

"I was winning the fight until I got caught," Mitchell said. "The same mistakes I made in the first round, I made in the second round and he just caught me.

"I had fought counter-punchers but maybe not at that level."

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