It is on, or is it? Well for now it appears that Sharmba 'Little Big Man' Mitchell will get his crack at 'The Thunder from Down Under' Kostya Tszyu on November 6th at the Glendale Arena in Phoenix, Arizona in a bout that will be televised by Showtime. Their first meeting was back on 2001 when Mitchell re-injured his knee had to retire after the seventh round, which gave Tszyu the win and the WBA light welterweight title to go with his WBC strap. Since that bout Tszyu went on to beat Oktay Urkal and Zab Judah, giving both fighters the first losses of their careers. After beating Ben Tackie by unanimous decision in May 2002 and stopping Jesse James Leija in six rounds in January 2003, Tszyu has been inactive for well over a year-and-a-half. Mitchell on the other hand has been on an eight fight-wining streak that includes wins over Lovemore Ndou, Ben Tackie and Michael Stewart and the 34-year-old southpaw is ready to take on Tszyu in his quest to be the Undisputed World Champion at 140lbs. In Mitchell’s sixteen years as a professional boxer he has complied an impressive record of 55-3 (30) and has held the NABF lightweight title, the WBC Continental Americas, WBA Fedelatin and the WBA light welterweight title and currently holds the IBF light welterweight interim title. But with all the years and experience and with his accomplishments Shamrba Mitchell isn’t done just yet; in fact, he has just begun. And the Washington DC based fighter looks forward to beating Tszyu convincingly and move on up to his goal, the crown of Undisputed World Champion. Sharmba Mitchell took the time out of his training and gave his thoughts on his upcoming bout against Kostya Tszyu and his feelings on his future in the sport of boxing.
Benny Henderson Jr.: How has your training been going?
Sharmba Mitchell: My training has been going great. You know I can’t complain, it is hard training, has been hard. [Laughs]
BH: You have had two setbacks on the Kostya Tszyu rematch already, how does it feel to know that is finally going down?
SM: Well it is here but I am keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes through and we will be able to step in the ring. Until he is here and we make weight and stuff like that then I’ll know the fight is going.
BH: Kostya Tszyu has been inactive well over a year and you yourself have had four straight victories in that same time frame with solid activity. Do you see his inactivity as a disadvantage on his part, or do you feel he can come right in and mix it up?
SM: Well he may, you know, he may be able to. It depends, some people can adapt and some people can’t. I would never say that he couldn’t because then I would be selling myself short. I still have to put the effort in and the training in as if he has been fighting just as regular as I have and that is the attitude that I have to take. Because first he is the undisputed champion of the world and he is a veteran also. Like I said some people and adapt and some people can’t, just look at Trinidad. I have to look at it like he has been fighting regularly and that is how I have been training.
BH: In the first bout you re injured your knee, now that has been years back but are you mentally ready for this bout?
SM: Oh yes definitely man. [Laughs] It is all about winning, it is all about being the undisputed champion of the world. And that is my goal right now and nobody can get in my way from me reaching my goal and I can’t let anybody step in that light for me and take away that goal I set for myself.
BH: WBA champion Vivian Harris stated that he would like the winner out of you and Kostya Tszyu, what are your thoughts on Vivian?
SM: Well I don’t have any thoughts right now because I have Tszyu in front of me. I have no plans after that. All I know is that I want to be the undisputed champion of the world in the 140lbs. division and maybe move up in weight.
BH: You have been in professional boxing for around sixteen years and have had a total of fifty-eight bouts. Can you give us just some of your most unforgettable moments throughout your career?
SM: Well I have had quiet a few, let me see. I remember fighting a guy named Keeley Thompson whom was a neighborhood rivalry and that was my first belt ever as a pro. I won the lightweight IBC world title. I remember fighting Bazooka Limon and him pulling down my pants in the ring. [Laughs] I remember me fighting Rocky Lockridge in New Jersey, man he hit me the hardest ever. I can remember the first time I ever lost. I didn’t have the devotion to train for that fight at all, I trained like two weeks before I fought Levander Johnson, and I was still winning the fight but I just wasn’t physically or mentally there. All I can remember is what happened in the second round and can’t remember anything from the third round on.
BH: Again you have been in the boxing business sixteen years and have won fifty-five bouts and have held world titles. What else is there to accomplish, when on paper you have done it all.
SM: Well there is a lot to accomplish I want to be the undisputed champion of the world in that division, and I want to go to 147 lbs. and win a belt, and I then I would like to go up to 154 lbs. win a belt and then retire. I just want to go down in history as the best pound-for-pound in the world and I moved up in weights to be able to do it. I want to get the recognition that Sharmba Mitchell was here and was the best in the world.
BH: When you look at yourself as a boxer, what do you fell is your best quality?
SM: I think I’m a great boxer as short as I am not being a tall guy and having really long arms or anything like that. I think I’m a great boxer I’m a slick mover and pretty fast.
BH: You have been around a long time and know the ropes, what advice would you give to somebody who was coming up or just wanting to fight?
SM: Well if he were wanting to get into the game, get into it 100%. It is a tricky game but don’t let it frustrate you and just stay focused.
BH: Besides your match up against Tszyu, what other match-ups do you feel would light up the division?
SM: Well I am not sure; you got to understand I have been worrying about this fight so much I haven’t been able to worry about anything else at all. My concentration has been so much on getting this fight back and winning this fight and Kostya Tszyu, Kostya Tszyu, Kostya Tszyu; that is my goal right there. I think I can probably answer a whole lot more questions when it is over.
BH: I apologize man I was just getting your thoughts.
SM: Man I understand what you are saying, but I am just focused on one thing and I don’t look above or beyond what is in front of me. That’s with anybody, if I fight Scooby Doo next week or something I have to look at Scooby Doo for that moment.
BH: If you fight Scooby Doo man you are going to have problems because I like Scooby Doo. [Laughs]
SM: [Laughs] I understand man.
BH: You’re a solid fighter with great skills and have accomplished a lot, and even with all that you have done throughout the years do you get scared or anxious stepping into the ring even now with all your experience?
SM: When I get in there I am a just anxious to get it on and get it going, after that my anxiousness is just happiness to be there.
BH: What motivates you?
SM: Just being the best, just trying to achieve being the best period. Being the best in the world, that motivates me more than anything.
BH: Any predictions?
SM: To win, that is my prediction to win convincingly.
BH: Anything you would like to say to the fans.
SM: To my fans, I will be the undisputed champion of the world and you will be proud of me.
I would like to thank Fred Sternburg for his help with the interview. It was much appreciated.. I would like to give Sharmba Mitchell a big shout out and a big thanks for his time and thoughts.
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