By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing
Two-time world champion Michael Katsidis (29-6, 24 KOs) will take on former world champion Graham Earl (26-4, 12 KOs) in a rematch of their explosive knockdown-filled first fight. The highly anticipated match up will take place in Toowoomba on July 4. The pair first met in 2007 when the then WBO world lightweight #2 ranked Michael Katsidis, travelled to London England to defeat local hero and then WBO world #1 Graham Earl for the vacant WBO lightweight world interim championship. This will be the 35-year-old Earl’s first fight in five years.
Fightnews.com caught up with promoter Brendon Smith.
Former WBO champion Michael Katsidis returns to action on July 4 in Toowoomba in a rematch against Englishman Graham Earl with WBU world title up for grabs. Their first fight in 2007 for the WBO title was full of drama that seen both boxers in trouble during the contest with Michael stopping Earl in round five. What are your thoughts on the rematch?
Yes an amazing fight. It won the “Fight of the Year” and “Round of the Decade” in the UK. This has been in the making for a lot of years with Graham hounding me ever since he lost to Michael. This rematch is a very good rematch and no doubt will be fought with the same heart and passion from both boxers. Both boxers have had a lot of time off out of the ring but the desire from Michael to make sure there is no trilogy and the hunger from Graham to settle the score is burning in both of them.
Katsidis scored a stoppage win in three rounds over Eddy Comaro in his most recent ring appearance. Were you satisfied with his performance?
I was very happy with his defense and composure as it had been 2 years. He showed good control on his emotions .
You have trained and managed Michael for all his amateur and professional career. Is that correct?
Not quite, I have managed Michael his whole pro career except for the two year split we had and his fight with Albert Mensah in the States. I trained Michael when he was an 11-year-old for his first few fights than I stopped and did not train amateurs as I had a very big pro stable and only trained pros from there on in.
You guided Katsidis to the WBO world title and he boxed the biggest names including Juan Marquez who he had on the canvas, Joel Casamayor, Jesus Chavez, Kevin Mitchell, Juan Diaz, Robert Guerrero and Ricky Burns. Can you give your thoughts?
Michael and myself worked hard to get to the top and we were a great team.
On your July 4 show, you have classy featherweight Brayd Smith (9-0, 7 KOs) boxing Jay Jay Ngotiko (8-2, KOs) for WBC Youth Silver title. How good is Ngotiko? Is this a tough fight for Smith?
I Think this is Brayd’s toughest fight. Ngotiko is three times champion of Tanzania winning the featherweight title over ten rounds in the second half of last year. Brayd’s first defense of his title and is up against a hungry young fighter who wants to take the title back to Tanzania.
Filipino Jack Asis is in against Rivo Renkung from Indonesia in 130 pound fight. Your thoughts?
Tough fight! Rivo is strong. It’s a rematch with Jack winning on points last time. Dangerous fight for Jack and a win here will put him in a title fight next fight.
You have several stars in your gym. Who are they?
Our stable is on the grow and they are all stars. Michael Katsidis, Brayd Smith, Les Sherrington, Darren Askew (England), Josh Bailie (England), Will Young (fights for the Australian featherweight title on the July 4 show), Sammy Williams, The Hermantor, Tom and John Ford (the twins), Jack Asis, Josh Webb and Graham Blay (both trained by Brandon Wood) and Kris George, Cory Hess and Kyle Teer (who are trained by Craig Monagle) plus more plus many more on the rise. They are great blokes and such good work for each other.