Ricky Burns and Kevin Mitchell showed each other plenty of respect as they met for the first time to promote their upcoming clash on September 22 in what is being billed as a Battle of Britain.
Scottish star Burns, a two-time and two-weight world champion, meets English ace Mitchell in one of the most highly anticipated fights in recent years as they meet for the WBO World Lightweight title.
The pair met face-to-face at RAF Hendon to announce their showdown and squared-off in front of the iconic WWII Spitfire and Hurricane fighter planes.
Both fighters showed a deep respect and friendship for each other, but insisted it will be put aside when they collide in the ring.
"The countdown is on,” said WBO champion Burns. “The fight trade has been talking about us two meeting for a while now and it’s happening at the perfect time.
“Mitchell is a great fighter and I’ve got to know him well outside of the ring, but it’s a shame in this business that that will have to be put aside while we’re fighting it out and there can only be one winner.
“For me it’s about testing myself against the best and proving how good I am. Mitchell’s the next best in Britain and I’m sure he’s going to give me the hardest fight of my career and that’s what I’m preparing for - a real battle,”
For Mitchell it will be his second shot at a world title with his sole loss coming against Michael Katsidis - who Burns defeated last year - in 2010, but he’s rebounded with a fantastic win over John Murray last July.
“Ricky’s a great person, a lovely guy and I consider him a mate of mine,” said Mitchell. “Business is business though and if I lose then I’m back to the bottom of the pack and I’m not going there so it’s must win fight for me, losing to Ricky is not a option.
“We’re full of respect for each other, we’re both at the top of our game and it’s a fight between the two best in Britain and two of the best in the world, it’s going to be a great fight for the fans and media.
“Once we’re in that ring and the bell goes, though, it’s going to be brutal, Ricky knows what he’s got in front of him and I’m going to be hitting him harder and faster than he’s ever been hit before.
“I’m in this business to win world titles, I lost the first attempt against Michael Katsidis and I won’t be needing a third, this is it for me.”