Michael Katsidis Too Much For Kevin Mitchell, Scores 3rd-Round Stoppage

boxingby James Slater - Tonight, in the main event at Upton Park in London, Australian tough guy and defending WBO interim lightweight ruler Michael Katsidis proved to be way too good and powerful for the unbeaten Kevin Mitchell of Dagenham. The 29-year-old scored a 3rd-round TKO, after having badly hurt the 25-year-old challenger on at least two occasions with left hooks to the head.

Seeing Mitchell was in bad shape, referee Dave Parris dived in at the one-minute and 57-second mark of the 3rd, as Mitchell was on the ropes taking heavy shots upstairs. Katsidis, known as "The Great" is now 27-2(22). Mitchell, who was riding a superb win streak, lost for the first time as a pro in falling to 31-1(23).

Both men had a good look at each other in the 1st-round, standing almost static in ring centre in the early going. Mitchell was throwing and landing some nice, crisp left jabs, while on two occasions - once early in the session, the other at the end of the round - Katsidis burst into life and showed how dangerous he is. It was a close round, but the challenger shaded it for me..

Mitchell boxed and moved very effectively in the 2nd, as Katsidis came forward, looking to do damage. Hitting and moving, Mitchell did have to take a few right hands to the head from the champion, who was getting closer and closer. The Australian warrior trapped Mitchell on the ropes for a few worrying seconds at one point, but despite this Mitchell won the round with his superior boxing.

Then, in the 3rd, it looked like a great slugfest might be shaping up. A tasty left hook to the head hurt Mitchell and Katsidis unloaded as he looked for the finish. Mitchell was badly stunned yet he came fighting back himself, even appearing to hurt the interim boss at one point with a head shot of his own. But then another massive left hand to the head scored for "The Great" and Mitchell's legs dipped. Katsidis, always a good finisher, sensed blood and went for it again, unloading with both fists to good, damaging effect. Seeing that Mitchell's head was being knocked around by lefts and rights, ref Parris dived in and saved Mitchell from taking any more hurt.

Both men embraced after the ending had come and there was no ill feeling whatsoever. Mitchell later said he feels he can come back, Katsidis thanked the UK fans for their support.

While Katsidis, one of the sport's most exciting practitioners, deserves respect for his away win, it's hard not to feel bad for Mitchell. Being groomed for international stardom, having proven himself with that great points win over Breidis Prescott last December, many fans felt Mitchell was the new star of British boxing. Katsidis, however, had other ideas.

Now in line to face the winner of the upcoming Juan Manuel Marquez-Juan Diaz rematch for the full WBO 135-pound belt, Katsidis has to be give a great chance of winning that one. Mitchell, at just 25, is young enough to come again, but it really will be a case of him having to go back to the drawing board.

Article posted on 16.05.2010

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