Furious Kevin Mitchell says he’ll finally punish Michael Katsidis for snubbing him when he was an up-and-coming fighter. The Dagenham star will aim to become a world champion when he fights the 29-year-old Australian for the interim WBO lightweight title on May 15 at West Ham’s Boleyn Ground at Upton Park in London. But it won’t be the first time the pair have come face to face after a frosty meeting at Wembley three years ago. That night, Katsidis impressed with a thrilling win over Graham Earl, while Mitchell got a solid victory on the undercard. At the end of the night, Mitchell approached Katsidis and praised him for the win but says Katsidis could barely be bothered to return the compliment.
“I’ve always remember that and it’s stuck with me to this day,” stormed Mitchell. “His fight against Earl was one of the best I have ever seen, and I went up to him to tell him that. But rather than show me the kind of respect that fighters usually have for each other, he looked at me like I was a nobody.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was just a young kid who wanted to big up a fighter who’d just put it all on the line. I’ve meet a lot of champions in my time, and his behaviour that night was the worst I have come across. From Sugar Ray Leonard, Marvin Hagler and Mike Tyson to Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton, they have all been great with loads of time to talk to me, but Katsidis is one arrogant sod. Now it’s payback time. Until that moment I was one of his biggest fans – but afterwards I was desperate to knock him out. Right there and then I thought to myself ‘You’re going to pay for that.’
“I’ve been waiting for my chance ever since, so it was an added incentive when Frank Warren offered me the fight. One things for sure and that is Katsidis will definitely know who I am on May 15, and he will definitely be giving me respect after I’ve knocked him out and taken away his title.”
‘Hammer Time’ is headlined by Kevin Mitchell’s challenge for the WBO Interim World Lightweight Championship against Michael Katsidis. The undercard includes the British and Commonwealth Heavyweight Championship between Danny Williams and Sam Sexton; Olympic Gold medallist James DeGale challenges for the first title in his career – the WBA International Super-Middleweight Championship; unbeaten heavyweight star Derek Chisora; and prospects Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders.