If you’re one of the most talented fighters on the planet and nobody wants to fight you, what do you do?
Joan Guzman decided to move up a division to lightweight and challenge WBO lightweight titleholder Michael “Rocky” Katsidis on May 26, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.
It’s right across the street from Disneyland.
Guzman’s no Mickey Mouse but he is taking a huge risk in clashing with the naturally stronger Katsidis an Aussie. One thing about Aussies they’re not dainty or shy about exchanging fists.
“It’s going to be an exciting fight,” said Katsidis (22-0, 20 KOs), who captured the WBO interim title against Graham Earl in London, England last February. “It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Katsidis has been living a fairy tale come to life. First he ventured to England to fight and win the lightweight title, then he came to the Hollywood where his favorite movie “Rocky” was filmed and made and now he’s fighting across the street from the Magic Kingdom.
“This is something really spectacular,” Katsidis said.
Guzman, who holds the WBO junior lightweight title, said he’s been challenging everyone from Juan Manuel Marquez to Manny Pacquiao and decided to try his skills with bigger opponents.
“I challenged Marco Antonio Barrera and he doesn’t want to take a chance, I’ve challenged everybody. Michael Katsidis is the only one willing to take a chance,” said Guzman (27-0, 17 KOs) who beat Argentina’s Jorge Barrios for the WBO junior lightweight title in Sept. 2006. “He’s the only guy willing to step up to the challenge. I admire him for that.”
Katsidis knows that Guzman possesses outstanding speed and defensive skills, but the Aussie boxer feels training in the U.S. for this fight will help him prepare.
“You can’t get better sparring than in this country. You have every different type of fighter here,” said Katsidis who also prepared in California before his last bout. “Sparring here taught me more than I ever expected. It really helped me.”
Another world title fight will take place between former junior featherweight Oscar Larios of Mexico and Venezuelan Jorge Linares (23-0, 14 KOs) in a featherweight match.
“I was supposed to fight Injin Chi but he keeps coming up with excuses,” said Larios (59-5-1, 37 KOs), whose last 12-round fight was a loss to Pacquiao in the Philippines. “I know that Jorge Linares has a good record and a good reputation as a fighter.”
The fight card is promoted by Sycuan Ringside Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions. For ticket information contact Ticketmaster at (714) 740-2000.
High school boxing
Rubidoux High School hosts its sixth annual Battle of the Falcons boxing show on Friday April 20. The boxing card features high school students against high school students in an intramural contest that begins at 7 p.m. in the school gymnasium.
Former pro boxer Armando Muniz, who teaches at Rubidoux High, has organized the successful event that regularly attracts more than 1,000 people to the festivities. The boxing great wants to bring boxing as a regular sport in high schools. It’s already a recognized high school sport in North Hollywood and Van Nuys.
Tickets are priced at $7, $5, $4 for students with identification and $2 for children under 12. For more information call (951) 361-6500. The school is located at 4355 Camino Real in Riverside, Ca. 92509. The cross street is Mission Blvd.
Abner Mares in title fight
Former 2004 Mexican Olympian Abner Mares meets Colombia’s Angel Priolo for the NABO bantamweight title on Friday in Cicero Stadium in Chicago. It’s Mares first 12-round fight and first title bid.
Mares now lives in Montebello and is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions. He regularly fights at 122 but is dropping down in weight for this fight. He’s managed by Joe Hernandez who has an eye for excellent young talent like Mares, Daniel Ponce de Leon and Edwin Valero. Ponce de Leon and Valero currently hold world titles though Valero was forced to fight overseas because of a medical suspension by the New York Athletic Commission a few years back.
Priolo, 33, has lost his last four bouts but comes in with 20 KOs in 35 fights.
The title fight will be shown on Friday live on Telefutura.
UK vs. USA Contender
The Contender has crossed the Atlantic Ocean and now ESPN is showing the American Contenders against those of the United Kingdom every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. One of the American fighters featured is Alfonso Gomez of Whittier. The popular fighter was on the first Contender series and has not been defeated since losing to Peter Manfredo Jr. more than two years ago.
Others featured on the Tuesday night show are Walter Wright, Cornelius Bundrage, Jonathan Reid and Jesse Brinkley. The show runs for six weeks.
Morongo fight card
Dominic Coca meets Arizona’s Gilberto Luque in the main event at the Morongo Casino Resort and Spa on Friday April 27. The fight card is promoted by Two Feathers Promotions. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the first bout begins at 7 p.m. For tickets or more information call (866) 328-2024.
HBO fight documentary
The first installment of the 24/7 Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather Jr. promotional series kicked off on Sunday. The first documentary-type episode showed both boxer’s training areas and featured uncensored comments and critiques by both famed boxing world champions. One of the guests on the show was rapper 50 Cent who was in Mayweather’s camp giving his small take on the upcoming showdown. Sugar Shane Mosley was shown arriving in the camp. The slick series is produced by HBO and shown on Sundays at 7:30 p.m.
New Big Bear Boxing Training Facility
Abel Sanchez, who trained former junior middleweight champion Terry Norris, built a new training facility in Big Bear Lake. The mountain city is 8,000 feet above sea level and has been a haven for both professional boxers and MMA fighters for years.
Sanchez built the two-story facility that actually is comprised of two units: 2,000 square feet unit with three bedrooms and a larger unit at 3,200 square feet.
There’s a large boxing ring and workout equipment. For more information contact Sanchez at (909) 841-4022 or e-mail him at WCBLTD@aol.com
New Mexico photographer Chris Cozzone graciously sent us some great photos of the victory by Cristian Mijares over Jorge Arce. We’d like to give Cozzone a special thanks for his art. To see more of his work go to www.Fightnews.com