Mitchell-N'dou For IBF Interim Belt Feb 7 on SHOWTIME

28.01.04 - Former WBA super lightweight champion SHARMBA MITCHELL returns for his fourth consecutive appearance on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing, when he faces "The Black Panther," Australian fireball LOVEMORE N'DOU, Saturday, February 7, at Bally's Atlantic City in Atlantic City, NJ. Promoted by Gary Shaw Productions, LLC, in association with Goossen-Tutor Promotions and Budweiser, the SHOWTIME telecast will begin at 9 P.M. EST / 9 P.M. PST with a replay of the Joel Casamayor-Diego Corrales bout followed by Mitchell-N'Dou.

Mitchell and NDou, with a combined professional record of 88-8-1 (52 KOs), and a winning percentage exceeding 90%, will meet in a 12-round bout for the IBF interim junior welterweight title.

Mitchell was originally scheduled to challenge IBF/WBA champion Kostya Tszyu, in Russia on February 7, but a training injury forced Tszyu to withdraw for the second time. Tszyu suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon last year postponing the original rematch between the division's two best combatants.

"Sharmba earned his right for a rematch defeating former world champion Vince Phillips, and in consecutive IBF-sanctioned eliminators, knocking out Calos Vilches and winning a near shutout against former world title contender Ben Tackie. Sharmba's earned the right to fight for the title whether Tszyu is ready or not," said promoter Gary Shaw. "Sharmba is a consummate professional. He did not want to waste a great training camp and was willing to fight King Kong if he was available. I have no worries that Sharmba will be more than ready for N'Dou."

Mitchell, 52-3 (30 KOs), from Takoma Park, MD, makes his 2004 debut following a banner year that had him knocking out Vilches in the fourth round last January and a totally dominating 12-round unanimous decision over Tackie, in May, on scores of 119-108, 119-108 and 118-109, to become the IBF's No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger, solidifying his quest for a rematch against Tszyu, which has been postponed twice due to training injuries suffered by Tszyu. Mitchell captured the WBA super lightweight title in 1998, defeating defending champion Khalid Rahilou in France, via a dominating unanimous decision. Mitchell held the title for over two years, successfully defending it four times, before losing it in a unification bout against WBC champion Tszyu in 2001. Mitchell more than held his own against Tszyu, who literally threw or wrestled Mitchell down several times throughout the fight, resulting in a partial tear of the lateral collateral ligament in Mitchell's left knee as well as a hamstring injury. Mitchell's trainer, Marvin Sims told referee Joe Cortez that Mitchell could not continue.

"I was fighting on one leg for most of the fight," said Mitchell. "When I returned to my corner after the seventh round, my left knee was numb. That's when Marvin called the fight. I know I would have beaten him if he had not injured my leg. I want a rematch. I want to prove who the better man really is."

Thirteen months after having the ligament surgically repaired, Mitchell returned to the ring winning 10-round unanimous decisions over Bernard Harris, Frank Houghtaling and former world champion Vince Phillips in 2002, followed by his 2003 victories over Vilches and Tackie.

N'Dou, 36-5-1 (22 KOs), captured the IBF Pan Pacific jr. welterweight title via a fourth-round TKO of Sarit Saeknaew in 2002. N'Dou has successfully defended it three times since two by knockout including his most recent fight in December, a fifth-round KO of Carlos Alberto Ramon Rios. This will be N'Dou's first fight in the U.S. since winning a unanimous decision over top contender Damian Fuller last April. N'Dou is currently world-rated No. 9 by the IBF.

"I want to win very badly," said N'Dou from his training camp in Australia where he had been training for a different fight. "Not only will it give me the interim title, but it will also make me the mandatory to my fellow Australian Kostya Tszyu. A world title fight between us down under would be huge here."

Tickets to the seven-bout Mitchell-N'Dou card are priced at $35 and are available at Bally's Atlantic City Show Reservation Desk, located in the hotel lobby or by calling TicketMaster at (800) 736-1420. Tickets are also available on line at Doors open at 6 p.m. The first bout is scheduled for approximately 6:30 p.m. All bouts subject to change.

Article posted on 28.01.2004

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