By Craig Watt
Former WBO interim Lightweight Champion Michael “The Great” Katsidis has targeted a re-match with Cuban veteran Joel Casamayor after his convincing points victory over Argentinean Angel Hugo Ramirez at the weekend. Although it has been rumoured that the 28 year old Aussie was due to face IBF#4 ranked Julio Diaz in April in California, it now seems a “homecoming bout” in Brisbane or Queensland is the preferred option. Katsidis, who moved his record to 24-2 with the unanimous decision over Ramirez told the Sun Herald in Australia, “It would be great for me to come back to Australia against a big-name opponent and Casamayor would be ideal.”
The all-action aussie crowd pleaser has spent the last two years fighting away from his hometown of Toowoomba, Queensland and is keen to deliver an exciting fight in his home country. A match against Casamayor would stimulate huge interest in Australia after such an exciting fight in March 2008 which was one of the contenders for, “Fight of the Year”.
Although Katsidis was a clear winner on the scorecards in Cebu City, Philippines on Saturday he failed to built on a commanding first four rounds when he had the Argentinean, now fighting out of Spain on the canvas four times. However, the nature of Ramirez’s tactics in trying to survive over the ten rounds made it a difficult challenge for Katsidis. Nevertheless, he did win by wide margins of 98-87 and 96-89 twice and was never in any danger of defeat.
He added the WBO Asia Pacific Title by defeating Ramirez and enhanced his current WBO#6 rating.
“I really wanted to knock the bloke out and wasn’t so happy with my performance straight after the fight,” Katsidis said.
“But it was unbelievably hot, easily the toughest conditions I’ve fought under . . . 10 seconds in the ring felt like a minute. I’ve watched a replay of the fight and realise that all Ramirez wanted to do was back-pedal after he got hurt in the opening round.”
If the Casamayor fight was to be inked it would be an excellent spectacle for Australian boxing fans after Katsidis was actually ahead on the scorecards going into the tenth round when he was stopped by the veteran Cuban. He rose from the canvas in the first and dropped Casamayor in the sixth in an exciting battle, only to taste the power of the Cuban in the decisive tenth round.
Katsidis manager and trainer Brendon Smith returned to Queensland today and is in discussions with Australian company Sportsbet who are heading a consortium to bring a big name fighter to either Brisbane or Melbourne. He stated, “There is a real possibility he will fight in Brisbane or Melbourne in 12 weeks time. There is Julio Diaz on the menu and one other fighter and we will make a decision this week.”
Smith stated that it was his advice that told Katsidis, “to take his foot off the pedal,” after he built up a clear points lead in the first half of the fight.
“Michael and I both woke up sick on the morning of the fight and he had a niggle in his right hand after the first couple of rounds, so I just got him to cruise because he was well on top.”