Tszyu Easily Retains IBF Title

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Kostya Tszyu retained his International Boxing Federation junior-welterweight title Saturday night at Glendale, Ariz., stopping Sharmba Mitchell in the third round of the long-awaited rematch between the former titleholders.

Tszyu knocked Mitchell down four times, three in the third round. The last time, Tszyu dropped Mitchell to his knees with two combinations, then hit him with two right hands, two lefts and a right before referee Raul Caiz stepped in at the 2:48 mark.

Tszyu (31-1) was credited with a seven-round technical knockout of Mitchell (55-4) when they fought on Feb. 3, 2001. But that was because Mitchell had to retire after injuring his left knee.

Tszyu, who held the World Boxing Council crown, won Mitchell’s World Boxing Assn. title.


This time, Tszyu, a former champion of all three major divisions, left no question about his supremacy at 140 pounds, getting his 25th knockout and improving to 15-1 in world championship bouts.


Serena Williams and Vera Zvonareva earned the final two berths for the WTA Tour Championships starting Wednesday at Staples Center.

Williams, who started the week eighth in the latest standings with 2,597 points, earned her spot when older sister Venus lost in the quarterfinals of the Advanta Championships Friday in Philadelphia. Serena can finish no lower than ninth in the final standings.


The ninth-place finisher qualifies for the eight-player field this year because Justine Henin-Hardenne, who was in sixth place, withdrew from the season-ending event.

Zvonareva, who began the week 11th in the standings, clinched her berth with a quarterfinal victory over Jennifer Capriati, giving her 2,447 points.

Serena Williams and Zvonareva join a tour championships field that includes No. 1 Lindsay Davenport, Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova, U.S. Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, French Open champion Anastasia Myskina, Amelie Mauresmo and Elena Dementieva.

Sharapova withdrew from her semifinal at the Advanta Championships because of a strained right shoulder. She was to play the top-seeded Mauresmo.


Sharapova hurt the shoulder two weeks ago at the Swisscom Challenge in Zurich and aggravated the injury Friday night during her quarterfinal victory over Alicia Molik.

Mauresmo, the defending champion, will play sixth-seeded Zvonareva, who defeated seventh-seeded Nadia Petrova, 6-3, 7-6 (2), in today’s final.

Sixth-seeded Marat Safin overcame a twisted right ankle to reach the Paris Masters final for the fourth time in six years by defeating 13th-seeded Guillermo Canas, 6-2, 7-6 (5). Safin will play qualifier Radek Stepanek for the title. Stepanek beat Max Mirnyi, 3-6, 7-6 (1), 6-4.

Pro Football


Minnesota Viking receiver Randy Moss will not play in a game for the first time in his NFL career, sitting out Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts because of a strained right hamstring.

Cornerback Lito Sheppard and defensive tackle Sam Rayburn signed five-year contract extensions that will keep them with the Philadelphia Eagles through the 2011 season. Rayburn received a $1.3-million signing bonus.

The Miami Dolphins signed Bill Gramatica, making them the first NFL team in 11 years with three kickers on the active roster. Olindo Mare, who has a right calf injury, did not play in Miami’s last three games, and his replacement for the past two, Matt Bryant, has a right quadriceps injury.



Six-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong has strongly hinted he may not compete in the world’s leading cycling race next year to concentrate on other goals. But he stopped short of saying he would definitely not compete in France next July.

“Honestly, I don’t know whether I’ll be at the start of the Tour,” he told sports daily l’Equipe in Paris.

“There are a lot of other things I’d like to accomplish on a bike before I retire. And I tell myself 2005 could be the right time to give it a try.”



Even David Ortiz was amazed by his home run, a 514-foot shot that hit the lights down the right-field line at the Tokyo Dome.

“I knew when I hit it that I got all of it,” the Boston Red Sox slugger said after the major league All-Stars beat the Japanese All-Stars, 5-3, Saturday night in Game 2 of the series.

Manager Bruce Bochy of the San Diego Padres said it was the longest home run he had ever seen.

Ortiz, who helped the Red Sox win the World Series last month, drew gasps from the crowd of 52,000 with his long drive in the bottom of the fourth off Shunsuke Watanabe.



Denmark ended the U.S. women’s soccer team’s 21-game unbeaten streak, beating the Americans, 3-1, in an exhibition match at Philadelphia.