Australian boxer Michael Katsidis (right) fights with Mexico's Michael Lozada during a junior welterweight  on the Gold Coast in 2011.
Australian boxer Michael Katsidis (right) fights with Mexico's Michael Lozada during a junior welterweight on the Gold Coast in 2011. DAVE HUNT/AAP Photos

Former world champion in corner for Grafton fight night

BOXING: When the fighters hit the ring for tonight's Clash on the Clarence pro-am fight night at the Clarence River Jockey Club, they will do so in the presence of Australian boxing greatness.

Former two-time WBO world lightweight champion Michael Katsidis will be ringside tonight as he trains Nektarious Stathis, who will fight Ryan Cotten in a professional debut.

Stathis hails from Athens and is an ex-Greek Special Forces soldier, something Katsidis believes will help his quest to become a professional fighter.

"He is a 'live by the sword, die by the sword' kind of guy,” Katsidis said. "He has come over from Greece to train under me. He hasn't had a lot of amateur experience but what we aim to do is keep him ring-fit and fight as much as possible.”

A nod to his heritage, and his mentor, Stathis is expected to march to the ring wearing a Corinthian helmet.

While Katsidis has spent little time in Grafton, it has been a successful place for the Katsidis clan after his late brother Stathi won the 2009 Grafton Cup onboard Castle Heights.

"One thing we love about this town is people get behind blokes who are passionate about their sport,” he said. "My brother got to have that feeling at Grafton and now I hope I get to do the same.”

CLASH ON THE CLARENCE

Gates open at 5.30pm. Amateur undercard kicks off at 6pm. Tickets are $45 with children under 10 free. Tickets available on the door.



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