Katsidis ready for Stateside debut
By Adrian Warren
July 13, 2007 MICHAEL Katsidis is primed to boost Australia's boxing fortunes next week, when he will fightan opponent whose country is enjoying a huge surge in the sport.
Katsidis, the World Boxing Organisation lightweight champion will make his first title defence against Czar Amonsot of the Philippines in Las Vegas on July 21.
Amonsot, the WBO Asia Pacific champion with an 18-2 win-loss record, will take on the Queenslander hoping to emulate the recent triumphs of his fellow Filipinos.
Just last week, US-based Filipino Glenn Donaire took the International Boxing Federation flyweight title from Australian fighter Vic Darchinyan while Florante Condes won the IBF strawweight title.
With multiple world-title-winning Manny Pacquiao widely regarded as the most exciting boxer in the world and another Filipino Ranee Ganoy recently toppling former IBF super featherweight champion Robbie Peden from Australia, the Philippines is emerging as a genuine international boxing force.
Conversely, Australia has slipped down the world pecking order with Darchinyan and Lovemore Ndou both losing world titles in the past month.
"We expect a really tough fight from this young Filipino," Brendon Smith, the trainer of Katsidis, said.
"I expect him to grow an extra arm and leg in this fight, being a title fight. And the Filipino fighters have got their tail up at the moment, and they are good fighters."
Smith said Katsidis, 26, was looking strong after working with former World Boxing Council light middleweight world champion Lupe Aquino from Mexico and several southpaws, whom the trainer declined to name.
Smith has deliberately released few details of his fighter's preparations after the developments in the lead up to the proposed but ultimately postponed fight with Joan Guzman from the Dominican Republic.
Dual world champion Guzman withdrew from the fight with a hand injury, but the Katsidis camp felt the Dominican might have been warned off by reports of the Australian's strong gym form.
Katsidis has been training virtually in private at a gym in Venice Beach, California, where the camp can control the flow of people.
"Over the last seven weeks, we've kept it very low key," Smith said.
"We've only made one public appearance where Michael had a photo shoot with Oscar de la Hoya and Bernard Hopkins and Shane Mosley."
After watching his charge win the interim title in front of a large British crowd, Smith has no fears about Katsidis handling the hype of a major Las Vegas promotion.
"He's never been to Vegas and it doesn't bother him," Smith said.
"As far as he is concerned, once you are inside the ropes it doesn't matter where you are.
"He's a very level-headed young man. He got great experience going to England with a 12,000 crowd against him, so coming into a coliseum like Mandalay Bay, it doesn't faze this young bloke."