Scottish spoiler Ricky Burns upset the apple cart against last night at Wembley Arena in London, overcoming the odds to outpoint certified Brit brutalizer Michael Katsidis over 12 rounds to capture the Interim WBO lightweight title.
31 year old Aussie hardman Katsidis had already crushed the hopes of Graham Earl and Kevin Mitchell on previous UK trips and the two-time former world title challenger held a big edge in experience over Burns, having previously faced the likes of Juan Manuel Marquez, Juan Diaz, Joel Casamayor and Robert Guerrero.
In contrast, the 28 year old Scot Burns had toiled on a much lower level as Commonwealth super feather titlist before shocking previously undefeated WBO super feather champion Roman Martinez last year and making three low risk title defenses.
Making the move up to the lightweight ranks, Burns was definitely the underdog against Katsidis, a career 135 pounder who had previously only come up short against world champions.
But once the bell rang, Burns proved his ability to handle the aggression of Katsidis far better than Mitchell or Earl.
Katsidis went right after Burns but the lanky Scotsman maintained distance most of the time with an effective jab. When the visitor did gain position on the inside, Burns showed a good chin to take the punches but also a good defense to take the sting out of Katsidis' efforts.
As Burns began to conserve energy, the Aussie found his rhythm in the middle frames, attacking Burns like every round would be the last, going upstairs and down with both hands.
As the rounds wore on, however, Burns started to make the veteran pay for any ground gained, outboxing Katsidis with crisp combinations before shelling up into a tight guard and weathering his rival's increasingly less potent offerings.
Katsidis outworked Burns without question but became ragged by the final rounds, flailing away ineffectively and near exhaustion from the constant punching.
Burns kept moving and landing good counters as Katsidis amazingly kept throwing until the final bell.
When the cards were read, Burns had won the Interim WBO belt by scores of 117-111 twice and 117-112, improving to 33-2 (9), while Katsidis falls to 28-5 (23).
In a big domestic dustup, British and Commonwealth super middleweight champion George Groves, 14-0 (11), stayed undefeated with a surprising second round stoppage of former British titlist Paul Smith, 31-3 (17).
Aside from the end of the first frame when Smith made a breakthrough, Groves was in control of the bout, leveling Smith in the opening moments of the second before finishing the job during the follow up assault.