Sharmba Mitchell of Takoma Park successfully defended his World Boxing Association super lightweight championship tonight by outclassing Elio Ortiz of Venezuela and winning a unanimous decision.

Mitchell (46-2, 29 knockouts) lived up to his role of 5-1 favorite over the obscure Ortiz, who was making his debut in the United States, but absorbed a deep cut above his right eye that was opened with a head-butt in the sixth round of the 12-round bout.

The fight was the feature attraction on the Evander Holyfield-Lennox Lewis undercard. It also was Mitchell's third defense of the WBA 140-pound title he won from France's Khalid Rahilou in Paris on a 12-round decision 13 months ago. Since then, Mitchell added 12-round decisions over Pedro Saiz and Reggie Green. Mitchell dropped Ortiz (18-4, 14 KOs) with a straight left hand 20 seconds into the fight. "It surprised me," Mitchell, 29, said. But it surprised Ortiz even more. The Venezuelan managed to beat the count, but then was given a superb boxing lesson by Mitchell through the fifth round.

Sensing he would lose on points, Ortiz began roughing up Mitchell in the sixth. Referee Richard Steele stopped the fight briefly to have the ring doctor examine the eye cut in the sixth. From then on, Ortiz tried every tactic he could. Steele penalized him a point for butting in the eight round. "He used elbows, head, shoulders, laces on the gloves, you name it, he did it," Mitchell said. Blood poured down Mitchell's face in the ninth and 10th rounds. "I could only see out of one eye," Mitchell said. "I was fighting on instinct. I couldn't see some punches coming."

It was a one-sided victory, yet one judge scored it closely. All scorecards favored Mitchell: 119-109, 118-108 and 114-112.