Eastside Talks To Brendan Smith, Trainer - Manager Of Mick Katsidis
01.08.07 - BY TONY PRITCHARD - NOBBS: On July 22 on the under card of Hopkins-Wright, fight fans around the globe witnessed the show casing of one of the fight games most exciting young talents Mick Katsidis, who with Czar Amonsot, waged what has been labeled an epic battle and a "show stealer" by many of the world's press, who previously, were unaware of the WBO interim lightweight champion from Toowoomba, Queensland. With Mick still in the US, we spoke to his trainer-manager Brendan Smith a week after the fight.
Article posted on 01.08.2007
Q: Before the Amonsot fight I wrote on eastsideboxing.com that Mick had the "makings of another Gatti" and the fight could "steal the show". A few people were critical but now that seems to be the case...
A: Yes. It's funny you say that. Before the Graham Earl fight, our last 12 round sparring session in New York, I won't mention he guys name, but after the spar I pulled him aside and asked his opinion. He said he's sparred middleweights, he's sparred Gatti, and Mick was the best he'd sparred, the strongest. We have always been aware of the comparisons and now that he has been on the big stage, people are realizing it.
Q: What's the reaction been in the US?
A: The reaction over there to the fight has been unbelievable. It's lifted Mick's profile enormously. At the press conference you'd have swore he was the main event. The media wanted to talk to him get his photo, he received an ovation .He is going to be a guest on HBO at the World Cup Mexico v The Philippines at the MGM on August 11 and there are preparations to have a passing of the torch ceremony with Arturo Gatti. We are also negotiating him to be a guest on ESPN. I hate to say it but he is held in more than esteem in the States than he is in Australia and that is a crying shame. It looks like the US will be our base for a while but it's our ambition that we can come back to Australia and defend our world title at home.
Q: Even though the fight was great, I know Mick can do even more...
A: You have to remember it was only six or so weeks before that the Guzman fight fell through and we had to prepare for a lefty. We were confident in the opponent, we trained very hard. Also, it was the first time Mick's been cut in a fight, not just one, but four And it was so early in the fight and he required 27 stitches. After the fight, we went to the hospital and Czar was beside us, we realized he was in a bad we had a lot of mixed emotions that night, obviously we were worried about him.
Q: How was Mick in the corner through the fight?
A: He was great. Jim Strickland did an excellent job with the cuts and the bruising.
Q: Mick seemed a bit concerned before round 10...
A: He was worried about the ruling. We conversed with the referee and doctor so we were clear on the ruling. Mick went out and almost put him away in that round anyway.
Q: What fights are planned?
A: We are only focused on Juan Diaz. We are ready to stand by our obligation to the WBO and Don King and make this fight. All along Mick wanted Freitas, Diaz stopped Freitas so now we are going for him. I think it will be the start of a great trilogy and will make both of these men huge names in boxing.
Q: You were criticized how you've matched Mick (with "soft touches") but when he's got his shot he's been up to it...
A: Like I've before, it doesn't worry me. Unfortunately, even when you beat a good fighter, they say he wasn't up to scratch. People forget that Mick went 12 rounds and won an Australian title in his second fight. He stopped Fred Kinuthia whose previous bout was a points loss to Lovemore. He went over (to Thailand) and sparred Yodsanan, he sparred Mundine, he sparred Kostya. All that was to prepare him for this stage. I think he hasn't even started to be the fighter he will be. We were prepared to fight the name guys here but when it came to the crunch they offered ridiculous money, they'd rather say we don't want to fight and offer us a few measly thousand to get out of it that way.
Q: You came close with November Ntshingila. How does it make you feel now having a world champ?
A: I've always had my personal satisfaction. Training my other fighters has been great. With Mick, I don't think the job is done yet. We have to get ready for the next fight, we are mandatory for Juan Diaz, we can't get caught up in the attention. Mick's feet are firmly on the ground. He is already been back in the gym. I want this young man to come out the other side comfortable and in good health and that is my goal. If you notice after the tenth, I told Mick to ease it off, that is why. We had the fight won, we didn't want to take any risks.
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