- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 25, 2003

Washington junior welterweight Sharmba Mitchell is hoping to get another title bout against champion Kostya Tszyu if he defeats Carlos Vilches tonight in a Showtime fight at Bally's Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.
Instead, Mitchell may find himself frozen out because of a backdoor move by the International Boxing Federation. The organization has anointed Arturo Gatti as its No.1 challenger a place the winner of tonight's fight had expected to occupy.
Mitchell (50-3, 28 knockouts) on the comeback trail since losing his World Boxing Association junior welterweight title to Tszyu two years ago when a knee injury prevented him from continuing a close fight after seven rounds is determined to pressure Tszyu for a rematch, even if it means chasing him up to the welterweight division.
"I want Tszyu," said Mitchell, a Takoma Park native. "If he moves to welterweight, I will do the same. Title or no title, I want that fight."
First, though, he has to get by Vilches (38-2-2, 24 knockouts), another talented fighter in what has become the most competitive division in boxing. Mitchell, 32, is convinced he has more than enough to handle Vilches and keep pursuing Tszyu.
"I seem to get better with every fight [since returning from knee surgery]," said Mitchell, in his fourth fight since his loss to Tszyu. He won his last fight in November, a decision over former junior welterweight champion Vince Phillips.
"It's been a great training camp," Mitchell said. "I am finally firing on all cylinders. I have too much talent to lose to Vilches. I will make him fight my fight."
A Mitchell fight usually means a lot of speed and boxing from the southpaw, piling up points against his opponent.
"I never look for knockouts," he said. "I punish my opponents in the ring, and I have ruined more careers by punishing my opponents than with knockouts."
Vilches, 26, of Santa Rosa, Argentina, has won five of his last six fights and seeks to avenge a TKO loss in July, when his fight with Emanuel Augustus was stopped in the eighth round because of a cut over his eye.
"I want to win very badly. Not only will it get me in a better position for a world title fight, but it will also get me a step closer to a rematch with Emanuel Augustus," Vilches said.

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