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Black American Loses WBA Title In France
Francis Walker

April 8, 2000

Having barely retained his WBA super middleweight title in his first defense last year, Byron Mitchell (20-1-1, 16KOs) lost his championship on Saturday, April 8, in France during a rematch to No. 1 contender, Frenchman, Bruno Girard (36-3-1, 5KOs).

The bout, promoted by Don King Productions, was televised exclusively on Showtime Event Television, via same-day tape delay from France.

During their first encounter on December 11, Tunica, Mississippi Mitchell, a 26-year-old native of Ozark, Alabama, desperately tired to hard to knock Girard out in the first round. Having been forced to got the 12-round distance, Mitchell, who won the WBA title from Frankie Liles (TKO 11) in June 1999, found himself in an "all-out" slugfest. Although Mitchell tattooed with lacerations across Girard's face, many through that Girard, with little power, threw more and landed the more effective punches consistently enough to steal both the decision and the title right out from underneath Mitchell feet.

In the rematch, Mitchell, as opposed to the first time, was a lot sharper and smarter. Mitchell boxed intelligently as he used his heavy left-jabs to have Girard back-peddle around the ring in circles. However, Girard would throw counter shots, but many of them were blocked by Mitchell.

In the third, Girard started to open up by leaping toward Mitchell behind straight-rights and left-handed flurries. Girard would duck and should Mitchell miss, counter effectively with long, straight shots that would eventually find their mark.

Mitchell did a great job using his left-jabs in flurries, but would catch nothing but air. Girard provided Mitchell with difficult angles and movement, more movement as opposed to their first fight. Since Girard was going backwards and Mitchell would miss coming forwards, Girard then moved straight ahead behind his guard to throw the more effective shots.

As the bout grew old, Mitchell more frustrated and became less effective. While Mitchell began to abandon his left-jabs, Girard became the more intelligent fighter to the degree where Girard not only started to come forward in the ladder rounds, but reduced Mitchell to a "one-punch" fighter.

Girard just simply out-landed Mitchell with flurries throughout the contest and countered effectively.

As the end of the contest, all three judges scored the bout unanimously, 116-113, 117-114, and 116-113 for Girard


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