Juan Diaz vs Michael Katsidis On Sept. 6

Golden Boy Promotions is bringing big time boxing back to Houston, Texas. On Saturday, September 6th, Houston’s own former Three Time World Champion, Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz will face off against Australian warrior Michael “The Great” Katsidis in the first boxing event at the Toyota Center in Houston. Diaz will be making his Golden Boy Promotions debut as he returns to the ring in front of his hometown crowd in what might prove to be his toughest test to date against Katsidis, who like Diaz, will be with prepared to go to war for the win. The event will be broadcast live on HBO’s Boxing After Dark..

In addition to the local-flavored main event, Golden Boy Promotions is pleased to announce that Houston native and 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist Ricardo Rocky Juarez will meet former Junior Lightweight World Champion Jorge “La Hiena” Barrios in the co-featured bout of the HBO broadcast.

The doubleheader featuring Diaz vs. Katsidis, in a scheduled 10 round lightweight main attraction and Juarez vs. Barrios, in a 10 round junior lightweight co-feature bout, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, Amigo Energy and Dewalt Tools with Diaz vs. Katsidis being presented in association with Northeast Promotions. The bouts will air live on HBO’s Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:15 p.m. ET / PT, 9:15 p.m. CT. Doors for the evening’s event will open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets for Diaz vs. Katsidis and Juarez vs. Barrios, priced at $200, $100, $60, $40 and $25, go on sale Thursday, July 10 at 10 a.m. CT and are available for purchase, online at, by phone at 1-866-4-HOU-TIX and select Houston area Randalls locations. Tickets will be available at the Toyota Center Box Office starting Friday, July 11 at 9 a.m.

“If there’s ever been a fight almost guaranteed to provide all out action from bell to bell, it’s this one,” said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. “Diaz and Katsidis only know one direction – forward – and when they meet in the center of the ring on September 6th, there are going to be fireworks.”

“HBO’s Boxing After Dark series made its name on fights like Diaz-Katsidis,” said Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “Marco Antonio Barrera-Kennedy McKinney and Arturo Gatti-Wilson Rodriguez were just two of the spectacular wars that aired on the series and I have no doubt that Diaz-Katsidis will join those classics in the hearts of fans around the world.”

“We are thrilled to be hosting two of Houston’s finest boxers, Diaz and Juarez, here in their hometown at Toyota Center,” said Doug Hall, General Manager and Vice President Toyota Center. “We have been looking for the right time and match up to present our first boxing event and the time has come. Working with HBO and Golden Boy Promotions, this is sure to be an amazing night.”

At just 24 years old, Houston native Juan Diaz (33-1, 17 KO’s) has done more in his eight years in the pro game than most fighters achieve in a lifetime and all while being enrolled as a full-time student at the University of Houston. A stellar amateur who missed out on the 2000 Olympics because he was too young to compete, Diaz instead turned pro in 2000 and tore through the lightweight division with an aggressive style that garnered him a legion of fans. In 2004, Diaz won the WBA Lightweight World Title with a 12 round unanimous decision over Mongolian Lakva Sim. After five successful defenses, Diaz added the WBO Lightweight belt to his trophy case with an eighth round stoppage of Brazilian superstar Acelino Freitas in April of 2007. Six months after the Freitas victory, Diaz stopped Julio Diaz in nine rounds to add the IBF Lightweight World Title. Despite a close split decision loss to Nate Campbell in his last bout on March 8th, he knows that with a win on September 6th, he will be one step closer to adding a fourth World Championship to his already impressive resume.

“Michael Katsidis is a great fighter and a former world champion,” said Diaz. “I’m excited just to get back into the ring. I feel like I have something to prove to my fans and team and on September 6th, I’m going to win big and take the first step back to regaining my world title.”

An all-action warrior who has been favorably compared to former World Champion Arturo Gatti for his brawling style in the ring, Michael Katsidis (23-1, 20 KO’s) may hail from Toowoomba, Queensland, in Australia, but United States fight fans have adopted the 27-year-old as one of their own after a series of breathtaking wars that have made him must see TV. After dominating the Australian scene, the 2000 Olympian took his show on the road in 2007, winning the WBO Interim World Lightweight crown in England by stopping Graham Earl and then defending it in the States with a thrilling 12 round decision win over Czar Amonsot. Both of those bouts were instant classics featuring multiple knockdown, cuts and thrilling back and forth action. His 2008 campaign began with another war filled with brutal exchanges and multiple knockdowns when he lost his title to Ring Magazine World Lightweight Champion Joel Casamayor in March in one of the most exciting fights of the year thus far. Even with this impressive resume of thrilling fights, most believe his bout with Diaz will surpass all his previous bouts when it comes to action and excitement.

“I’ve been a fan of Juan Diaz for a while and I know he’s got no quit in him; in fact, he’s just like me in a lot of ways,” said Katsidis. “But on September 6th, all that respect will go out the window when we’re both trying to knock each other out. It’s going to be an explosive fight all right, but I’m bringing the dynamite.”

A 2000 Olympic Silver Medalist, Ricardo Rocky Juarez (27-4, 19 KO’s) has his heart and hopes set on winning a world title. The dangerous and very experienced fighter has been through extremely tough tests in the ring, never backing down from anyone in four world title bouts including a stunning upset loss to Humberto Soto for the WBC Interim Featherweight Championship; coming up short in two close, controversial battles with the legendary Marco Antonio Barrera; and a hard fought points loss to future Hall of Famer Juan Manuel Marquez. Having been so close to reaching his goal, the Houston native is hungrier than ever for his first world championship and knows that Barrios is a roadblock in his path that must be removed if he is to reach his goal.

“I’m excited that this fight is finally going to happen and in my hometown,” said Juarez. “I’ve been waiting for Barrios for a long time so I know he is a dangerous and experienced fighter, but I also know I’ll be prepared to stop him in front of all my Houston fans on September 6th.”

Former World Junior Lightweight Champion Jorge Barrios (47-3-1, 34 KO’s) of Tigre, Argentina, is known for his warrior’s heart and never say die attitude which was on full display in his 2003 war with Acelino Freitas which featured round after round of furious, back and forth exchanges including the classic eleventh round which won Ring Magazine’s Round of the Year for 2003. “La Hiena” went on to win the WBO Junior Lightweight World Title in April of 2005 with an exciting fourth-round TKO victory over previously unbeaten WBO Champion Mike Anchondo. He successfully defended the title twice, losing it via razor thin, split decision in another thrilling bout to then and still undefeated Joan “Little Tyson” Guzman. After a series of cancelled and delayed bouts following his third-round KO of Decho Bankluaygym in his last bout in April of 2007, Barrios is ready to continue his quest to regain his crown. He knows that he will have to get past an equally title-hungry Juarez September 6th in order to get another title shot.

“Rocky has never fought anyone like me and I’ll teach him a lesson in the ring on September 6th,” said Barrios. “He will not be able to handle my size and experience. I’m hungry for a win and I’ll be ready to lay it all on the line that night.”

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Article posted on 10.07.2008

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