Tommy Barber – London
Fan favourite Australian fighter Michael Katsidis, an unyielding brawler with a track record of beating British boxers, faces his third from the UK on Saturday, November 5 when he takes on Ricky Burns at Wembley Arena in London and, ahead of the contest, the Toowoomba-based 31-year-old commented on his tough training camp in Thailand, his physical and mental state, as well as his belief he could have kayoed Juan Manuel Marquez in three.
“People drew conclusions after my two defeats but they can look at the fight with Burns once it’s over and judge me based on that,” Katsidis said to the Daily Record.
A high-profile campaigner in the lightweight and super lightweight divisions, Katsidis (28-4-0, 23ko) was perceived to be a boxer on a decline from the upper echelons of the sport due to back-to-back defeats to Marquez and Robert Guerrero. He has already interrupted that winless run by trumping Michael Lozada in from of his own fans in Broadbeach, Queensland and will look to continue his bounce-back-ability with a strong victory over Scotland’s resilient boxer Ricky Burns, a former champion of the WBO super featherweight world title.
For Katsidis, proving his detractors wrong is familiar territory as, following his breakout stoppage win over Graham Earl in 2007, he suffered two losses to Joel Casamayor and Juan Diaz in his second and third fight in the US in 2008. What then followed, though, was the form of his life as The Great embarked on a victorious streak that included an eighth round technical knockout of former two-weight world champ Jesus Chavez, a split decision over lightweight gatekeeper Vicente Escobedo and a stunning third round stoppage over Kevin Mitchell.
Katsidis has since attributed his defeats to Marquez and Guerrero to his poor mental state at the time; a side-effect of the untimely and tragic death of his close brother Stathi: “Physically, I was 100 per cent for the Marquez fight but mentally I just wasn’t there – otherwise I would have had the guy out of there in three rounds.
“By the time I fought Guerrero three months later I deteroriated and that was when I suffered the most,” conceded a candid Katsidis. “I hadn’t gone home to spend time with my family. I think it took its toll.”
However, at present, Michael is feeling 100 percent both physically and mentally as he has returned to the training camps he went through in the past, in Thailand: “I’ve used Thailand for about eight years,” he said, before explaining that training in the east will bring out his best in the west: “There’s plenty of sparring and it’s a very basic way of living. You don’t have the luxuries of the west. It’s a hard lifestyle but it brings out the best in me. The accommodation is simple – no TV or air conditioning. The food is basic and we walk everywhere.”
On Burns (32-2-0, 9ko), he stated: “Me and Ricky are both nice guys but know we must get on with the job. It’s time to get the working head on. I’m just really looking forward to it.”
Katsidis and Burns will fight for the WBO lightweight interim world championship.