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Ricky Burns v Michael Katsidis WBO Interim Lightweight Title Fight Preview

Burns Confident Over Clash With Katsidis

Scotland's Ricky Burns is determined to put on a career best performance when he takes on Aussie powerhouse Michael Katsidis at the Wembley Arena in London next month. Burns and Katsidis will go toe-to-toe for the interim WBO lightweight title on Bonfire Night - in a bout that could be explosive; in his last fight on UK soil in May 2010, Katsidis blew away a then unbeaten Kevin Mitchell in just three rounds. 

"Katsidis is one of the greats in boxing just now. You name it, he has been there and done it. He has been in with the best in the division and he has only ever lost to the top fighters at lightweight.'' said Burns to Sky Sports.  
''He's been over to the UK before and beat Graham Earl and more recently Kevin Mitchell so I know this is going to be a hard, hard fight. But the way things have been going in the gym, as long as I take what we have been doing here into the fight and stay focused, I can do well. I think the first half of the fight is going to the toughest, trying to keep him away, because he is a good pressure fighter. But I do see me pulling this one off."


Current WBO/WBC lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez, takes on Manny Pacquiao on November 12th. Depending on the outcome of what will be the third meeting between these two intense rivals, Marquez could stay at welterweight and vacate his lightweight titles, drop back down to 135 lbs or even choose to retire. If 38 year old Marquez takes the first or third option, the winner of Burns vs Katsidis would take on Robert ''The Ghost'' Guerrero for the vacant WBO title.  

Either way, it's a golden opportunity for 28 year old Burns (32-2, 9 KO's) in his very first fight since moving up to lightweight. Previously the Scot had reigned as WBO super featherweight champion, making three successful defenses of the title he won in sensational fashion, climbing off the canvas in the first round to outpoint the highly rated Puerto Rican Roman Martinez in September 2010.

Burns is rated as the number one contender for the WBO title, with Katsidis ranked fourth. It is not unusual for a fighter who has been a champion with a particular boxing governing body to become the number one contender when they choose to move up a division. In reality, Burns is a raw novice at 135 pounds, whereas 31 year old Katsidis (28-4, 23 KO's) is a hardened veteran who was mixed with the very best that the lightweight division has to offer.

The Australian won his native title in only his second professional bout, winning a 12 round decision over James Swan in 2002. He toyed with moving up to junior welterweight early in his career, but soon returned to lightweight. Katsidis was the scourge of 135 pounders throughout the Pacific, and was 21-0 when he traveled to London to take on British prospect Graham Earl in February 2007. Ironically, the only blot on Earl's record at that point was an eight round decision dropped to a nine-bout novice named Ricky Burns.

Katsidis vs Earl has gone down in British boxing folklore as one of the most exciting, edge-of-the-seat wars ever seen in a UK ring. The two exchanged knockdowns and waged war for five relentless rounds before Earl was retired by his corner. Katsidis won the fight, but one would never had known it: his face was such a mess, he looked like the loser.

Like the late great Arturo Gatti, Katsidis is a fighter who often leads with his face. He rarely leaves the ring without the scars of battle, and his lack of defense has been the cause of him losing most of the major fights he has been involved in.

In his 32 bout career, Katsidis has lost to Joel Casamayor, Juan Diaz, Juan Manuel Marquez, and Robert Guerrero – all outstanding world champions. He had both Casamayor and Marquez on the canvass, and his loss to Diaz was on a controversial split decision. 

Only Guerrero has handled Katsidis with relative ease - a fact that Ricky Burns and his camp will have no doubt picked up on. The Californian is a former IBF featherweight and super featherweight champion, and at 5'8" normally has a height and reach advantage over his opponents.

Burns, at 5'10" is even taller than Guerrero, and boxes in a similar style to the Californian. The 28-year-old Scot will no doubt be studying the tape of Guerrero v Katsidis, and looking to employe similar tactics against the Aussie in November. The Californian is a southpaw, and on paper at least would seem to be a heavier puncher than Burns, although Ricky was throwing his shots with bad intentions in his most recent fight, a one-round debacle against a back- spasming Nicky Cook in July. 

Katsidis is notorious for gaining a huge amount of weight in the 24 hours between the weigh-in and the fight itself. He has been known to gain as much as 19 lbs, making him in effect a junior middleweight in the ring, giving him a huge (literally) advantage over his rivals. He is also a master of intimidation, recently taking the novel approach of yelling ''what are you looking at?'' at Robert Guerrero during the pre-fight instructions. 

If Burns can take all of these issues into account, plus figure out a way of dealing with Katsidis' crowding, pressure tactics in the ring, he has an excellent chance of upsetting the Australian in November. 

Big Fight Odds: Ricky Burns 11/8, Michael Katsidis 8/15 bet365
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Ricky Burns v Michael Katsidis WBO Interim Lightweight Title Fight Preview

Burns Confident Over Clash With Katsidis

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