Former interim world lightweight champion Michael Katsidis has hit back at the furore over his return bout with Graham Earl as some sections of the boxing fraternity say the July 4 bout should not go ahead.
Katsidis, 33, is currently fighting back from a series of defeats and has returned to old trainer and friend Brendon Smith as he plots a return to world-class, which has led to the pair to finally adhere to Earl’s own request for a long-awaited rematch.
The Aussie and Luton-born Earl first shared the ring over five entertaining rounds in 2007, with Katsidis coming out on top in a fan-friendly affair. Earl went on to lose his next two contests via first round stoppages and finally hung up his gloves in 2009 on the back of a six-round points win over 125-loss Karl Taylor.
In the time between then and now, Earl has consistently brokered the subject of the two getting it on again, according to Katsidis and Smith, with ‘The Great’ finally in a position to grant the Briton’s request despite vocal opposition. With Earl not having stepped between the ropes for almost five years, and to jump straight into an encounter with such a dangerous puncher, has many worrying for the health of the former British champion – which is something Katsidis has dismissed.
“If Graham gets defeated badly than that is his problem,” Katsidis exclusively told World Boxing News on Saturday.
“This is the sport I’m in and I should make note that no Englishman has ever beat me and I intend in keeping it that way. I appreciate I am considered dangerous for Earl as that’s a starting point, but only to confirm that I will begin another rise by defeating him.
“If I cared about what every Tom, Dick and Harry said I wouldn’t have got to where I did in the first place. People who criticise and judge are yet to consider it takes time to reach peak form and particularly after being retired from boxing for so long. You don’t instantly fight the pound for pound best in the world. Rome wasn’t built in a day and I like every other man I have to work my way up. I like this fight with Graham and I think it will bring back the biff for me.
“I’m happy with how we have been training. I have good muscle memory from work over the years and lot of my success has been due to the way Brendon and I work together.”
A win over an opponent he already dealt with in devastating fashion won’t increase his world title ambitions much in the grand scheme of things, although continued success will obviously open more debate about the possibility of Katsidis fighting overseas again.
A destructive victory over Kevin Mitchell in the UK, coupled with toe-to-toe battles wth Juan Manuel Marquez and Robert Guerrero in Las Vegas are where Katsidis made his warrior name. Mitchell recently scored one of the best wins of his career when stopping unbeaten Ghislain Maduma in eleven rounds at Wembley and Katsidis stated that he may be open to handing the Londoner a revenge opportunity in the future.
“Of course, big fights overseas is where my future will lay if I keep winning. The world awaits the return of a modern day gladiator and I may very we’ll be the answer,” laughed Katsidis.
“I know Mitchell has been asking for it. He can win have his big wins (against Maduma), but at the end of the day he had a very, very big loss to me.
“When he has something that I want, I might consider fighting him but as of now he’s a guy I pummelled in front of his entire countrymen – who on the occasion listened to Kevin’s endless hype of how I was a washed up fighter. Unfortunately for him, he let his country down and everyone in all the pubs and clubs closed early and everybody went home to bed early that night – after just three rounds infact.
“Whether we do it again will be determined in the future, but for now it’s Earl and I can tell you this; I will win and I will win well,” he added.
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