Promoters hope it will be another catalyst toward the resurgence of championship boxing in the District: Olympic medalist turned professional looking to accelerate his rise to the top of the heavyweight class at the expense of an aging ex-world champion aiming to reclaim past glories.

It's Riddick Bowe vs. Pinklon Thomas, heading a Sept. 7 card at the UDC Physical Activities Center.

Bowe, 1988 silver medalist in the super heavyweight division in Seoul, returns for his third professional fight in Washington. The 23-year-old scored a first-round knockout of Don Askew Nov. 18 at Coolidge High, then fought on the undercard of the Simon Brown-Tyrone Trice bout April 1 at the D.C. Armory, knocking out Robert Colay in the second round.

Bowe's manager, Rock Newman, describes his 6-foot-5, 225-pound charge as a fighter "with grace and speed as well as power."

Bowe -- trained by famed Eddie Futch, who has handled heavyweight champions Joe Frazier, Ken Norton and Michael Spinks -- improved his record to 18-0 (16 knockouts) in his last fight, a nationally televised third-round knockout of Art Tucker on July 8.

While Bowe works toward membership in the heavyweight elite, Thomas will try to stem his slide in the other direction. Thomas, 32, is a former World Boxing Council heavyweight champion who first captured the title Aug. 31, 1984, with a 12-round decision over Tim Witherspoon. After a successful defense a year later with an eighth-round knockout of Mike Weaver, Thomas surrendered the belt to Trevor Berbick March 22, 1986, in a 15-round decision.

Newman called the bout "definitely a crossroads fight for Thomas. This is important for his career. If he can win he may get a shot at {George} Foreman in the fall."

Several local fighters will also be on the Sept. 7 card.

Unbeaten Washington lightweight Sharmba Mitchell, who stopped Pedro Feliciano in five rounds July 20 in Philadelphia, will appear against a fighter to be announced today. Mitchell is 18-0 with eight knockouts.