Local boxer maintains perfect record
By Nick Meyer | Friday, 02.08.2008, 09:11 AM

DEARBORN As he stepped into the boxing ring at the Palace of Auburn Hills on February 1st to do battle with yet another opponent on his quest for a title shot, Dearborn's own Brian Mihtar couldn't help but feel the pressure.


In the lower bowl stood dozens of Mihtar's hometown fans, cheering him on and heckling his opponent. Behind them, many more fans stood and cheered with anticipation.


Almost every one of them was there not simply to see the man they call "The Lion," but to watch him knock his opponent out in the most brutal fashion possible.


Never mind the fact that Mihtar's opponents are all well-trained professionals perfectly capable of doing the same to him. Mihtar has gained a reputation as a "knockout artist" and that's the reputation he has to live up to every single time he fights. The fans pay good money for their seats and Mihtar does his best to put on a good show for them every single time out.


Mihtar stepped between the ropes with the word "Yemen" stitched on the back of his trunks to represent his home country and stared down his opponent, Ukrainian fighter Mikhall  Lyubarsky. All signs pointed to a mismatch in Mihtar's favor: his 8-0 record against Lyubarsky's 3-8 record, Mihtar's confidence, and the fact that Mihtar was actually wearing boxing shoes while his opponent was wearing a pair of Air Jordan 13 basketball shoes.


But the beginning of the first round was anything but a mismatch as they traded shots and the two boxers took the round to feel each other out.


Things got a little more intense when Lyubarsky got in close to Mihtar and gave him a shove into the side of the ropes. Mihtar wasn't too happy about the cheap shot.  He came back in the second round and hit Lyubarsky with a left hook followed by a straight jab, and Lyubarsky lost his balance. Mihtar kept his focus and drilled Lyubarsky with a vicious overhand right, and before the audience knew it the fight was called. Mihtar had won by TKO and the celebration was on.


"People always like to say that I'm a knockout artist, but I consider myself more of a technician," said Mihtar after the fight. "I've learned to be more in control instead of just looking for the knockout."


After months of waiting for a chance to show off in front of a big crowd at the Palace, the day had finally come and Mihtar took full advantage of his opportunity. But the 9-0 welterweight still dreams of the day he'll get a chance to prove his worth against a more competitive opponent.


He's willing to fight whoever his advisors put in front of him for now, however, and Mihtar swears that he'll continue to approach each fight the same way no matter who he faces.


"Whether my opponent is 3-9 or 10-0, I'm going to fight them the same way," he said.


The same basic, aggressive style will always be the blueprint for Mihtar to get a victory, but he continues to make adjustments as he goes along in preparation for his long journey to the top. He patterns himself after greats like Sugar Ray Robinson and Felix Trinidad, and one of the things he admires about them is their ability to always fight under control regardless of the situation. Mihtar was proud of the way he handled himself after being pushed into the ropes by Lyubarsky in terms of controlling his temper in the ring.


"Even when I got mad, it was more like a controlled anger," said Mihtar.


Mihtar is used to lesser opponents trying everything they can to get an edge on him, but he believes it's made him a stronger fighter going forward.


Next up for Mihtar is another bout tentatively scheduled for February 23rd at the Ford Performing Arts Center in Dearborn. The opponent is not yet known, but Mihtar's camp knows at least one "fighter" he won't be facing: a man who calls himself "The Black Rooster."


A crazed fan calling himself by that nickname came out from the stands and met Mihtar on his way to the locker room. He got up in Mihtar's face and started making small talk before claiming he had a record of 22-0 with 22 knockouts and challenging him to a fight.


But the man was just trying to get a rise out of Mihtar and police stepped in to separate him from Mihtar's camp before things got out of hand.


That's the other thing about being an undefeated boxing star that sometimes causes problems: it seems like everyone wants a piece of you.


"Every now and then you get idiots who want to act like a tough guy," said Mihtar. "It comes with the territory."


By Nick Meyer

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