For today's Closet Classic we turn our attention Stateside for a bout that pit an unbeaten "interim" world champion against a very talented, and often over-looked, Filipino. For the champion it was his US debut whilst the challenger was getting his first world title fight and both men wanted to leave an impression. And they did so!
Czar Amonsot (18-2-1, 10) vs Michael Katsidis (22-0, 20)
Filipino fighter Czar Amonsot isn't someone we expect fans to be too familiar with. The talented Filipino really never got a chance to make a big name for himself, or even really capitalise on this bout. He was a very under-rated boxer with a good boxing brain, decent speed and countering, and whilst he wasn't a huge puncher he certainly had enough on his shots to get the respect of his opponents. Prior to this bout both of his losses had come by TKO to Simson Butar Butar of Indonesia, including an opening round blow out just 10 months before this bout. On paper he really shouldn't have been fighting for a "world title", and was expected to be blown out early on by the heavy handed champion. He did however, likely get this shot due to a short lived reign as the WBO Asia Pacific champion, which would have given his ranking a boost coming into the bout.
The unbeaten Michael Katsidis had won the WBO "interim" Lightweight title around 5 months earlier, in the UK, when he won a tremendous 5 round war with Graham Earl in London. Prior to the Earl bout little was really known of Katsidis on the international stage, however hardcore fans, and Australians, knew he was a talent. He began his career in a 10 round title bout, for the Queensland State Lightweight title, his team were confident of his ability and he won the Australian title in just his second bout. Prior to facing Earl however he hadn't really faced anyone of any real note, and the Earl bout was his coming out party so to speak. He was aggressive, exciting, heavy handed, a bit raw but a thrill a minute fighter who was made for TV.
This started hot from the off with Katsidis doing what he would gain a reputation for, and coming forward, applying pressure and looking to open. Amonsot was quickly backed up but showed some nice ring craft to fight off the back foot and showed some very nice skills and counter punching, to try and keep Katsidis honest. Sadly for Amonsot he couldn't slow the Aussie in the first round and was dropped in round 2 by Katsidis seemed hungry for an early finish.
In Katsidis's rush to impress the US TV viewers he managed to end up taking some big shots himself and was left with some brutal looking bruising and swelling around his left eye by the end of round 2, and a nasty bruise under his right eye as well. Despite his good start, the eye was looking like it would be a ticking time bomb, with an almost inevitable feeling that it would begin to bleed, everywhere.
After being knocked down Amonsot changed his tactics, looking to create space to work from whilst Katsidis had to try and protect the eye. The eye was a mess by the middle rounds as the bruising burst, leaving Katsidis with half of his face covered in claret. The Aussie was, for the most part, the attacker but was being out boxed in large stretches by the Filpino, who was putting in a much, much better performance than anyone expected.
The fight wasn't one of the best Katsidis fights, but it was bloody, dramatic, competitive, exciting, and showed a mix of styles as Amonsot's excellent boxing skills went up against the power and aggression of Katsidis. A really good, often over-looked modern classic, that deserves a lot more attention than it gets. We had heart, determination, excitement, momentum shifts and drama. A brilliant fight!
When we have some free time we're hoping to add a series of fun articles to the site. Hopefully these will be enjoyable little short features