In what could wind up being a sleeper Fight of the Year candidate if all went well, talks have started to pit Michael Katsidis and Kevin Mitchell against one another for the full WBO lightweight title this summer.
The Barking and Dagenham Post reports that promoter Frank Warren is after the fight, hoping to bring it to London. Katsidis has in recent times given every indication that he's willing to fight again in the UK. He beat Graham Earl in a wicked battle back in 2007 at Wembley Arena in London, and has always spoken favorably of his fights abroad. The native Australian (who now lives in Thailand) hasn't fought in his home country since 2006, and his fight with Earl was his first outside of Oz. Since then he's fought mainly in the States, with one bout in the Philippines.
Katsidis (26-2, 21 KO) was supposedly in discussions to rematch Juan Diaz on March 27, but that has fallen by the wayside, at least for that date. The interim WBO lightweight titlist wanted to fight full titleholder Juan Manuel Marquez (who won't be holding the title much longer), but Marquez has shown no interest in that fight.
Katsidis was going to headline on HBO on March 27 against Robert Guerrero, but Guerrero pulled out with his wife battling leukemia. The March 27 Boxing After Dark will now feature Marcos Maidana against Victor Cayo in the main event, with an Ali Funeka-Joan Guzman rematch as the co-feature.
Mitchell (31-0, 23 KO) fought on February 13, pummeling Ignacio Mendoza in two rounds, knocking him out clean. Before that, he "stepped up" in December, easily defeating Breidis Prescott in the main support slot of the Khan-Salita card in Newcastle.
The 25-year-old Mitchell has become a name worthy to be in the discussion at 135, though he falls just outside of my personal top ten in the division. He's a good fighter, plenty gritty, and has carried some strength up to 135 from 130. He seemed a bit shy at first against Prescott, but eventually beat up on the taller man pretty well, and won almost every round of the fight.
Katsidis, 29, would be a bigger challenge. Katsidis doesn't know how to take a backward step and is very physically strong, plus he takes a hell of a punch. The only guy to ever really rattle his cage significantly was Joel Casamayor, who seemed in Katsidis' head from before the bell even sounded, and Katsidis made a really valiant charge in that fight before he was stopped in the 10th round.
If Mitchell fights aggressively (or is forced to), this could really be a war. Katsidis bleeds if you look at him wrong, so expect bloodshed and a heck of a fight if all goes well. This is exactly the fight I want to see for these two, to be honest, because I want to see just how good Mitchell is, and Katsidis seems like a good test for that.