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Thursday, February 7, 2013
Banks bummed; Jennings volunteers

By Dan Rafael

Johnathon Banks
Johnathon Banks was looking forward to a rematch with Seth Mitchell ... before he got injured.

Heavyweight contender Johnathon Banks is bummed out, of course, after breaking his right thumb in a sparring session, which forced his rematch with Seth Mitchell to be postponed.

They were supposed to fight Feb. 16 on HBO’s Adrien Broner-Gavin Rees undercard in Atlantic City, N.J. The fight will be rescheduled, but Banks (29-1-1, 19 KOs) was looking forward to the rematch of their November fight when, as an underdog, he dropped Mitchell three times in the second round for the knockout victory -- the biggest of his career.

“I was sparring on Monday and I felt something wrong with my right thumb while we were in the ring,” Banks said. “On Tuesday, I went to a hand specialist here in Detroit. There is a broken bone in the thumb and he diagnosed that it would take six weeks to heal.

“I was having a terrific camp and was truly looking (forward) to facing Seth again. Hopefully the bout can be rescheduled soon and I can get back in the ring in the near future.”

Their first bout was originally scheduled to take place last July, but wound up being postponed until November because it was Mitchell (25-1-1, 19 KOs) who had to postpone because of a hand injury.

With Banks-Mitchell postponed, there was some thought that Mitchell might stay on the card against a new opponent, be it on television or off. Although Mitchell likely won’t stay on the show, Philadelphia heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings, as soon as he and promoter Russell Peltz heard about Banks’ injury, volunteered to fill in and fight him.

Taking a short-notice fight would be nothing new to Jennings (16-0, 8 KOs), who filled in on six days’ notice a year ago and beat then-undefeated southpaw Maurice Byarm on national television.

“If we cannot get (Wladimir) Klitschko, we’ll keep calling out all the other heavyweights until one of them decides to fight Bryant,” Peltz said. “Today’s fighters have to get in shape. The old-timers stayed in shape and Jennings trains like the old-timers. He’s always ready. I spoke with (Golden Boy Promotions matchmaker) Eric Gomez and told him Jennings was ready, willing and able.”

Peltz said that Gomez’s response was that they had not decided what they were going to do yet.