Tszyu-Mitchell, Toney vs McCline: Showtime To Present Dual-Continent Telecast For First Time In Its History

18.11.03 – After broadcasting more than 500 bouts during an 18-year span, SHOWTIME will present separate fights from dual continents for the first time in its history on Saturday, Feb. 7, 2004, beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT. In the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING main event from Moscow, Russia, WBC/IBF 140-Pound Champion and WBA Super 140-pound Champion, Kostya Tszyu, will defend his titles in a highly anticipated rematch against former world champion and current IBF No. 1 140-pound contender, Sharmba Mitchell. In their initial contest on Feb. 3, 2001, Tszyu defeated Mitchell on SHOWTIME when the then-WBA super lightweight champion quit on his stool at the end of the seventh round after aggravating an injury to his left knee. Tszyu had Mitchell down on the canvas five times, although none were counted as knockdowns and most were the result of clinches. Tszyu led by three points on one card, four on another, and one judge had the fight even after seven rounds.

The 12-round co-feature (from a domestic location to be determined) will pit three-time world champion and current International Boxing Federation (IBF) Cruiserweight Champion, James “Lights Out” Toney, against World Boxing Organization (WBO) No. 5 heavyweight contender Jameel “Big Time” McCline for the North American Boxing Organization (NABO) heavyweight title. Millenium Events P/L will serve as promoter for Tszyu-Mitchell, while Goossen Tutor Promotions will promote Toney-McCline.

“This show is second in our new scheduling strategy of providing our viewers and boxing fans with a terrific event on the first Saturday of every month,” said Jay Larkin, Senior Vice President, Executive Producer Sports & Events Programming. “We have brought together the two top junior welterweights in the world, Tszyu and Mitchell, and combined them with perhaps the brightest new star in the heavyweight division, James Toney, in a very tough fight with a world-class heavyweight contender, McCline. We have produced fights from five continents, but this dual-continent, split-feed is a first for us. The depth of our announcers, with Albert, Bernstein, Gray, Charles and Farhood, gives us the ability to produce two events from opposite ends of the world.”

Tszyu (30-1, 24 KOs), of Sydney, by way of Serov, Russia, 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. In a sensational performance in which he became the first undisputed junior welterweight champion since Paul Fujii in 1968, Tszyu finished Judah off with a single, devastating right hand in the second round. In his sole 2002 outing, Tszyu retained his titles with a one-sided 12-round decision over then-IBF No. 1 contender Ben Tackie May 18, 2002, on SHOWTIME. Tszyu utilized a persistent two-fisted attack to batter the hard-hitting Tackie and triumph by the near-shutout scores of 120-108 twice and 119-109. In his lone 2003 outing on Jan. 19, Tszyu retained his undisputed 140-pound world title by scoring a sixth-round TKO over former WBC super featherweight champion “Jess” James Leija from Melbourne, Australia.

The once-beaten world champion captured the WBA belt on SHOWTIME with a seventh-round TKO over Mitchell on Feb. 3, 2001. Nearly one-and-one-half years earlier, Tszyu won the WBC 140-pound title by knocking out Miguel Angel Gonzalez in the 10th round on Aug. 21, 1999. A winner of 12 consecutive bouts, including 10 by knockout, Tszyu will make his 17th world title appearance. Tszyu, who turned pro on March 1, 1992, after going 259-11 in the amateurs, made his initial six starts in Australia, and 17 out of his first 22.

Mitchell (52-3, 30 KOs), of Takoma Park, Md., has won five consecutive bouts, including the last three on SHOWTIME. In his most recent start on May 17, 2003, the former world champion earned a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision over Ben Tackie to become the IBF No. 1 140-pound contender. The judges scored the contest 119-108 twice and 118-109. Less than four months earlier on Jan. 25, Mitchell opened the 2003 campaign by dropping Carlos Vilches three times en route to registering a fourth-round TKO in Atlantic City. Mitchell floored his opponent once in the opening round and twice in the fourth to score his first victory inside of the distance since February 1998. In a battle of ex-world champions on Nov. 9, 2002, in Oklahoma City, Okla., Mitchell registered a 10-round majority decision over Vince Phillips. Boxing effectively from the outside, he triumphed by the scores 99-91, 96-94 and 95-95.

The southpaw boxer-puncher captured the WBA title with a 12-round decision over Khalid Rahilou on Oct. 10, 1998. Mitchell made four successful defenses prior to losing to Tszyu. The defeat ended a six-and-one-half-year run in which Mitchell won 16 consecutive contests.

Toney (67-4-2, 43 KOs), of Los Angeles, by way of Grand Rapids, Mich., is coming off of an eye-opening, ninth-round TKO over legendary four-time heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield on Oct. 4, 2003, from Las Vegas. The confident, fast-talking Toney sent “The Real Deal” to the canvas in the ninth round. He continued to land punches with both hands until Holyfield’s trainer, Don Turner, had seen enough and told referee Jay Nady to stop the bout at 1:22. A winner of 13 consecutive fights, Toney was well ahead on points at the finish. The IBF cruiserweight title Toney won with a 12-round decision over Vassiliy Jirov on April 26, 2003, was not at stake. After holding previous world titles at 160 and 168 pounds, the victory over Jirov represented the 35-year-old Toney’s first world title triumph in nearly nine years.

McCline (30-3-3, 18 KOs), of Port Jefferson, N.J., rallied to register a 10th-round TKO over previously undefeated Cedric Boswell on Oct. 3, 2003, from Las Vegas. McCline trailed on the three judges’ scorecards when the bout was stopped at 2:07 of the final round. A former World Boxing Council (WBC) Continental Americas heavyweight champion, McCline turned the fight around with a solid right uppercut to the chin late in the ninth round. A rejuvenated McCline came out quickly in the 10th and decked Boswell with a vicious four-punch combination. The victory was the second straight for McCline since losing his lone world title appearance on Dec. 7, 2002. The challenger’s corner stopped the bout against then-WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko following the 10th round.

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING’s Steve Albert and Al Bernstein will call the action from Moscow with Jim Gray serving as roving reporter. “Shobox: The New Generation’s” Nick Charles and Steve Farhood will anchor the telecast and provide the call from ringside at Toney vs. McCline. The Executive Producer of the milestone SHOWTIME telecast is Jay Larkin.

For information on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecasts, including fighter bios and records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at

Article posted on 19.11.2003

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