By Craig Watt
Australian WBO#1 ranked lightweight Michael Katsidis (25-2, 21 KOs) has this week extended his contract with trainer and manager Brendon Smith for a further three years. The 28 year old former WBO interim champion from Toowoomba, Queensland has been with Smith since he was a local amateur fighter when he was just 11 years old. They have been together through out his 81 amateur fights, where he won 75 bouts and reached the quarter finals of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Since turning professional in 2001, “Katsidis The Great” has won 21 of his 27 fights by KO and has been recognized as one of Australia’s most exciting fighters in recent years. The only losses on his exciting resume are to former world champions Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz that occurred in 2008.
Since then, Katsidis has climbed the world rankings and is currently the mandatory WBO#1 ranked fighter at 135 pounds. He comes off an impressive stoppage win over Mexican Jesus Chavez in April which sets him up for some meaningful fights in 2009.
His manager and trainer Brendon Smith confirmed to Fightnews the new contract extension. He stated, “I am delighted that our successful partnership is to be extended for a further three years. We have worked closely together inside and outside the ring for 17 years now and we are both proud of our achievements in boxing. But we still have more to achieve and I am convinced Michael will be involved in some meaningful fights in the second half of the year. The win against Chavez showed Michael still has a rightful place at the top of the lightweight ladder and with his WBO#1 mandatory ranking he is in pole position to capture a world championship belt for Australia.”
In recent weeks, Katsidis has offered his services to former 140 pound champion Ricky Hatton as a future opponent but Smith believes Hatton will prefer an easier route than take on his fighter. He added, “The strong rumours coming out of England are that Ricky will seek an easier opponent than Michael which is disappointing for us and the boxing fans of Manchester as Ricky has been a proud champion and won his title in a tough battle with Kostya Tszyu, an Australian and it would be good for his fans to have a homecoming in his beloved Manchester against another Australian warrior in Michael. It would be an all action fight for his fans and we will come to the UK later in 2009. We are still available but I am starting to work on new options for Michael now and we are looking for meaningful fights for the rest of this year. We are in a strong position with the WBO to challenge Juan Manuel Marquez should he win against Floyd Mayweather in September. He is the WBO champion at 135 pounds and Michael is the mandatory challenger so this fight could happen and would be a great boxing spectacle for all boxing fans. Neither fighter gives an inch and it could be a fantastic bout.”
Katsidis is currently in Larissa, Greece where he is being honored by his father’s village in a major event for the region to celebrate the homecoming of his son, who is half Greek.