PHOENIX (Nov. 4, 2004) – In his first start in 22 months, Kostya “The Thunder Down Under’’ Tszyu showed why he not only is recognized as the world’s best 140-pounder but also is regarded as one of the best boxers pound for pound in the sport when he successfully defended his International Boxing Federation (IBF) junior welterweight title with an impressive, shockingly easy third-round knockout over IBF Interim Champion Sharmba Mitchell Saturday on SHOWTIME. The scintillating victory in the highly anticipated rematch was the second straight for Tszyu over Mitchell. In their initial encounter, the Australian-based Russian scored a seventh-round TKO over Mitchell on Feb. 3, 2001, on SHOWTIME.
Saturday’s SHOWTIME telecast aired at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on West Coast) from the Glendale Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.
Tszyu (31-1, 25 KOs), of Sydney, Australia, by way of Serov, Russia, was simply devastating as he turned what was supposed to be dangerous assignment into a cakewalk. In a prolific performance in which his powerful right hand did all of the significant damage, Tszyu floored Mitchell four times en route to winning his 13th consecutive fight. The referee stopped the one-sided bout after the final knockout at 2:48 of the third. Tszyu scored knockdowns in each of the first and second rounds and two more in the second. Tszyu, who last fought on Jan. 19, 2003, showed no effects from the injures to his Achilles’ tendon and left shoulder that required surgery and twice forced the eagerly awaited rematch with Mitchell to be postponed.
Tszyu stamped himself as the world’s premier 140-pound boxer and added the IBF belt to his already-glitzy wardrobe with a scintillating second-round TKO over previously undefeated Zab Judah Nov. 3, 2001, on SHOWTIME. Tszyu captured the World Boxing Association (WBA) belt when he defeated Mitchell the first time. Nearly one-and-one-half years earlier, Tszyu earned the World Boxing Council (WBC) 140-pound title by knocking out Miguel Angel Gonzalez in the 10th round on Aug. 21, 1999. Tszyu, who was making his 16th world title appearance (plus one no decision), turned pro on March 1, 1992. He went 259-11 in the amateurs.
Mitchell (55-4, 31 KOs), of Takoma Park, Md., had been victorious in his eight starts since a knee injury forced him to retire on his stool against Tszyu. The talented southpaw did well the first 2½ minutes as he utilized his boxing skills and speed. Mitchell showed a lot of heart by getting up after each knockdown, but he never could recover after going down the first time. The former WBA titlist captured the Interim IBF 140-pound crown with a hard-fought, 12-round unanimous decision over Lovemore N’dou on Feb. 7, 2004, on SHOWTIME.
This Title Bout Will Be Replayed On SHO2 On Tuesday, Nov. 9, At 11 PM ET/PT
Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?