Ricky Burns will attempt to do what Kevin Mitchell and Graham Earl could not and defeat Aussie powerhouse Michael Katsidis.
The 28-year-old from Coatbridge also aims to become the first Scottish boxer this century to become a two-weight world champion – the first since Paul Weir in 1995 – if he beats the Brit Basher on November 5th at the Wembley Arena in London, live and exclusive on BoxNation Sky Ch 456.
Burns, who has vacated his WBO World Super-Featherweight title, will step up a weight division to challenge Katsidis for the WBO Interim World Lightweight Championship.
“I’m motivated by challenges and facing a top name like Michael Katsidis has really got me excited,” Said Burns.
“He’s been in the ring with some of the best in the business like Juan Manuel Marquez and he’s well known to the fans here after his wins against Earl and Mitchell,”
“Katsidis comes to have a war, but so did Roman Martinez when I won the world title and against a fighter that comes to have a fight I put on my best performance,”
“This will be my first fight on the new TV channel BoxNation and I’m looking forward to putting on a good fight for the viewers,”
“The time is right for me to move up a division as I have been making super-featherweight for years and it was getting more and more difficult to hit 9st 4lbs (135lbs), so when the opportunity to fight Katsidis for the world title came up it was an offer I didn’t want to miss.”
“It’s also about creating a bit of history and a personal ambition to win a second world title in another weight division.”
Known as “The Great” from his Greek heritage, Katsidis has gained a reputation as one of the most exciting fighters in the world because of the wars he gets involved in.
Katsidis beat Earl at Wembley Arena in February 2007 in a brutal five-round war that saw Katsidis hit the canvas once and Earl three times before Earl’s corner pulled him out before the start of the sixth round.
He returned in May last year to take on Mitchell for the Interim WBO World Lightweight Championship and stopped him in three rounds at West Ham United’s Boleyn Ground.
Katsidis said, “England is like my second home now and it’s great to come back to the Wembley Arena where I had a fantastic battle with Graham Earl.
“I’ve beaten the two English guys in Earl and Kevin Mitchell, so now Scotsman Ricky Burns is stepping up to fight me and I’m looking forward to the challenge,”
“Ricky’s a good strong world champion at super-featherweight, but he’s in for a whole new world against me on Saturday 5th November,”
“He’s never faced anyone like me who will be coming at him night, constantly throwing punches.”
Chief support on a huge night of boxing is an exciting super-middleweight clash between British and Commonwealth Champion George Groves and Paul Smith.
Groves, recently named Best Young Boxer of the Year by the Boxing Writers’ Club, has his first fight under Frank Warren’s promotional banner.
He beat bitter rival James DeGale in a close contest in May to capture the titles and is looking to add Smith’s name to his unbeaten record.
“This will be a great fight. Smith will be hungry to win back his British title and this could be his last chance. I am fully focused on the task at hand. I worked hard to win these belts and I don’t plan on giving them up any time soon. I am prepared and ready to go to war with Smith.” Said Groves.
Liverpool ace Smith, the former British Champion, has been in red-hot form since he lost his title to DeGale last December with two first round KO wins.
Smith said, “I’m delighted that I’ve got the fight with Groves. I’ve wanted him for a long time, even before he beat DeGale. It’s about me getting my title back and I’m going all out on November 5th to reclaim it.”
Two further title fights on the card sees unbeaten Olympian Billy Joe Saunders challenge for the first title of his career when he takes on Southern Area Light-Middleweight Champion Gary Boulden; and undefeated prospect Ryan Walsh challenges Liam Richards for the Vacant English Super-Bantamweight Championship.
Promoter Frank Warren said, “It’s a big test for Ricky who makes his London debut as world champion. He’s seen what Katsidis has done to Earl and Mitchell over here so he’s got to really prepare for him. Katsidis, who comes in as gladiator and fights like one too, has got a perfect record against the Brits so Ricky could cause a big upset. On a fantastic show we’ve also got George Groves in a tough fight against Paul Smith and the old cliche styles-make-fights is the case here, with two quality fighters ready to put all on the line.”
It’s a big night of boxing on BoxNation, following the action from Wembley Arena, it switches live to the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen, Denmark, where WBO World Super-Middleweight Champion Robert Stieglitz and former two-time WBC World Champion Mikkel Kessler meet in a potential thriller.
Tickets for the Wembley Arena show, priced at £40, £50, £75, £100 & £150, and are available from:
Wembley Arena Box Office: 0844 815 0815
Disabled Booking Line: 020 8782 5629
Daily Sport says – This will be a cracker.