By Craig Watt
WBO Interim 135 pound champion Michael Katsidis (26-2, 21 KOs) spoke to Fightnews today from his Las Vegas base and gave an update on his plans for 2010 that should see him secure a career defining fight for the popular Australian boxer from Toowoomba, Queensland. In 2008 he suffered back to back losses to Joel Casamayor (in one of the best fights of the year) and Juan Diaz but rebounded back in 2009 with three wins and defeated both Jesus Chavez and Vicente Escobedo, many commenting that his last two victories have been his most impressive in recent years where he has added improved boxing skills to his come forward aggressive style that has made him so popular.
The win against Escobedo also secured “Katsidis The Great” the WBO 135 pound interim title and he now lies in wait to take on Juan Manuel Marquez if the Mexican decides to stay at lightweight.
Katsidis acknowledges the role of his trainer Brendon Smith in his 2009 success, “In 2008 I was a young undefeated fighter and wanted everything in such a hurry back then. The two defeats were a valuable learning experience which could have been all for nothing if Brendon and me had not worked through it. The net result of all the work and effort in the gym is that I won the WBO interim 135 pound title. With each fight in 2009 I became a more hungry but yet a more controlled fighter and it showed in my performances. I got hit less but still maintained my come forward aggressive style that the fans like. It is not a new Michael Katsidis, just a tweak here and there and a new and improved model in now in operation. I know 2010 is going to be a big year for me.”
The fight Katsidis craves for his first of 2010 is a shot at full WBO lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez. He gave a current update on where he is with this opportunity by stating:
“Marquez has formerly been ordered by the WBO to fight me upon losing to Floyd Mayweather Jr. It was some weeks ago this decision was made by the WBO and with the Christmas period I sent a telegram to Mexico and Marquez to press for an outcome. I am the interim champion and deserve my right to take on Marquez and it would be an all action fight for the fans – possibly one of the best in 2010. I am ready for May in the US if Marquez wants this fight.”
He added, “It has become a bit of a traffic jam with Marquez – I’m stopped at a mandatory red light, meanwhile behind me I have other great fighters honking their horns trying to take me on but I can’t go anywhere because the bloke in front of me is pretending not to listen.”
Whilst this waiting game has occurred with the Marquez fight, Katsidis has received challenges from all over the world and most vocally from Frank Warren’s improving fighter and WBO No. 2 ranked lightweight Kevin Mitchell from the UK who recently won an eliminator for the WBO 135 pound mandatory position when he outpointed Columbian Bredis Prescott, the only man to defeat WBA 140 pound champion Amir Khan.
Katsidis said, “I like the sound of that fight. I know he has also stated on record that he will knock me out. Now that is a big promise for him to make in public. Mitchell is an exciting fighter and how can that not be a good fight for the fans in the UK. I did get back to him on that challenge recently but currently I am mandatory to fight Marquez. I think in due course these fights will happen.”
The 29 year old Katsidis has also been linked with a potential fight with WBA 140 pound champion Amir Khan and the Australian has no problems going into the lions den to take on Khan in the UK.
“Amir has stated he would hit me three times before I threw my first punch indicating he has a much superior speed factor. However, my point would be that when I do land that one punch I have the power and potential to knock him out like Bredis Prescott did a couple of years ago. There is no doubt he is a gifted athlete and he is supremely confident but I am ready, wiling and able to deliver against Khan. Interestingly we met in Las Vegas recently and I don’t think I am on his agenda just yet. He has a mandatory coming up and wants to conquer the US in 2010- it would be a fight for the fans and I am sure pack 20,000 into the MEN Arena in Manchester.”
Overall in 2010 whether Michael Katsidis fights Juan Manuel Marquez, Amir Khan, Kevin Mitchell or even in his recent challenge to Anthony Mundine at 154 pounds one thing is usually guaranteed with the popular Aussie – an exciting fight for everyone watching with no quarter given.