LOS ANGELES, CA (February 22, 2008) – In an intriguing clash of styles that will have boxing pundits declaring this bout an early candidate for 2008 Fight of The Year, master boxer Joel Casamayor will put his Ring Magazine Lightweight World Championship on the line against a fighter many are calling the next Arturo Gatti, unbeaten Australian and WBO Interim Lightweight World Champion Michael Katsidis. The 12 round championship contest, for the WBO Interim and Ring Magazine Lightweight World championships, will take place on Saturday, March 22 at the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa and will be televised live on HBO’s Boxing After Dark, beginning at 10:05 p.m. ET / PT.
“This is a great matchup between two of the best lightweights in the world and given the styles of both fighters, I'm expecting a classic battle,” said Oscar de la Hoya, President of Golden Boy Promotions. “The winner of this bout will not only emerge as the top 135-pounder in the world, but will also make a case for himself as one of the premier fighters in the game, pound for pound.”
“A fight of this magnitude is perfect for a casino resort dedicated to delivering BIG TIME excitement to our guests," said Sean Sullivan, general manager of the Morongo Casino Resort & Spa. "With our recently expanded casino floor, and our ongoing commitment to being the premier casino resort in the region, Morongo has shown it is the place for sports and entertainment excitement in Southern California and we are pleased to partner with Golden Boy Promotions and HBO to present this world-championship boxing event."
One of the greatest fighters ever to come out of Cuba, Guantanamo’s Joel Casamayor (35-3-1, 21 KO’s) is a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame when he finishes his storied career. But at 36, “El Cepillo” has plenty of fight left in him, a fact he is sure to let Michael Katsidis know on March 22. Owner of over 360 amateur wins and a 1992 Olympic Gold medal, Casamayor defected to the United States after the 1996 Olympics and began a pro journey that has seen him win world titles in the super featherweight and lightweight divisions while scoring victories over the likes of Diego Corrales (twice), Nate Campbell, and Robert Garcia. Casamayor’s three losses were all hotly disputed by fans and the media, so it is conceivable that he could be undefeated today, and he is in the minds of many fans, all of whom will be glued to their television sets to see him take on one of his stiffest challenges in Katsidis.
“I've been on top for a long time and I'm not about to leave anytime soon,” said Casamayor. “Katsidis is a good fighter and he will be on top of this division someday, but this is still my time and I'm not about to lose to him on March 22.”
The pride of Toowoomba, Australia, Michael Katsidis (23-0, 20 KO’s) is boxing’s latest action hero. A stellar amateur of Greek descent who represented Australia in the 2000 Olympics, Katsidis’ aggressive style was even better suited for the pro game, and he quickly made an impression by winning the Queensland State Lightweight Title in his first professional bout, which was scheduled for ten rounds. In his very next fight, Katsidis added the Australian Title to his trophy case and has since earned the IBF Pan Pacific and WBO Asia Pacific Championships. In February of 2007, Katsidis won a five round, Fight of the Year candidate war over Graham Earl to win the WBO Interim World Championship. Bursting onto the American boxing scene in impressive fashion, he defended his title five months later with a hotly contested decision win over Czar Amonsot, in another Fight of The Year candidate. On March 22, he plans on taking down the legendary Casamayor and beginning his own world-class legacy.
“It's an honor to fight a great champion like Casamayor and I'm looking forward to testing my skills against him,” said Katsidis. “I plan on putting on another exciting fight for the fans and I believe my pressure, power and youth will carry me to victory on March 22.”