Michael Katsidis still champion
Kevin Mitchell’s big Upton Park night was ruined in brutal fashion, when he was stopped in three rounds by Australian Michael Katsidis to shatter his hopes of winning the interim WBO lightweight title in front of his home fans.
Fighting in front of a 14,000 crowd, the West Ham fan from Dagenham suffered his first defeat in 32 fights when referee Dave Parris stopped the fight, one minute and 57 seconds into the round.
Mitchell didn’t look like he had the power on the night to stop the aggressive Katsidis coming forward and to gain his respect.
The 25-year-old Londoner was out muscled by Katsidis and was drawn into his kind of fight, walking onto big shots, has Katsidis aggressively kept coming forward hunting down Mitchell in typical fashion, taking the first round.
It was a better second round for Mitchell, when it looked like he might be getting into the fight after a cold start a, getting off with some good combinations, but although it was a better round for him, but Gladiator Katsidis was still looking focused and strong.
In the third round Mitchell now fighting Katsidis’ fight was being dragged into a brawl, and getting beaten to the punch by the fast hands of Katsidis who doesn’t stop throwing punches.
A left hook stunned Mitchell and he never properly recovered, even though he retaliated at times with small bursts, he was keeping himself in the fight, still trying to get an hold on the fight, but he just couldn’t get out of the way and was caught flush again with good hard shots.
With Mitchell trapped against the ropes, Katsidis moved in for the kill, with punches raining in on a dazzled Mitchell, who was not protecting himself at that point and turned away, prompting the ref to step in and bring a disappointing holt to the action, and Mitchell’s dream of being a world champion.
Back to the drawing board for Mitchell
Kevin Mitchell blamed a disrupted training camp for his third round loss against Michael Katsidis in this WBO interim lightweight title challenge, which would have been a large stepping stone to world honours and fights against the cream of the division.
At the post fight press conference, Mitchell initially offered no excuses for his stoppage defeat, praising Katsidis for the way he’d fought.
But when Katsidis attributed his performance to a perfect training camp, Mitchell’s trainer Jimmy Tibbs let slip that all had not run smoothly for the challenger.
Mitchell then revealed that he’d had domestic problems in the build up, as well as a few late nights, in the weeks leading up to the fight.
“Hopefully the defeat will give me a kick up the backside,” said Mitchell. “It’s made me realise that you have to be 100% dedicated in this sport.
“I was in shape but I’ve had family problems, sometimes I was at my mum’s, sometimes I was back at my flat.
“I didn’t prepare for this fight like I did for Breidis Prescott, but I don’t want to take anything away from Katsidis.”
Tibbs added: “I believe Kevin can do something at world level if he is committed. In this sport it’s all about preparation.”
Warren, who had bankrolled an event that saw a huge crowd at West Ham, was not an happy man when he learned after the fight of Mitchell had cut corners in his training and didn’t prepare as well as he should have, “It really pisses me off when I hear this. he said.
“If he doesn’t play the game, don’t waste my time. Kevin now has to really learn from this; if he wants to be a world champion and play the game, I’m the person to help him. But can he come back? I think he can.”
Mitchell will now spend the summer out of the ring, before coming back in October or November.
Katsidis is now making an habit out of beating British boxers on there home soil, and said after the fight that he enjoys fighting in the UK and hopes to again in the near future.
The Australian is now a free agent, and it could be that he signs to fight with Frank Warren, and set up a fight another UK boxer, British and European light-weight champion John Murray.
“I love it here,” said the champion. “I fought here three years ago but I don’t want to leave it that long again.
“The fans here are really passionate. I don’t care if they boo me because they are here to support a sport I love.
“I’d love to fight here again. I feel like I’m still improving, and I’m a better fighter than when I came here to face Graham Earl.”
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