Katsidis-Mitchell title fight set
Interim lightweight titlist Michael Katsidis of Australia will head to England for a mandatory defense against Kevin Mitchell after Mitchell's promoter, Frank Warren, won the purse bid on Tuesday.
Warren's bid of $515,000 beat the only other offer of $501,000, which was made by Brendon Smith, who handles Katsidis. Warren announced that the fight would take place in Great Britain on a date to be determined in May.
"I'm delighted that I won the purse bid for this cracking contest and I'm sure it will be an explosive encounter," Warren said. "Both guys are come-forward, all-action fighters throwing plenty of punches, so it's hard not to see this fight developing into real war."
The winner will be obligated to face full champion Juan Manuel Marquez within six months of the fight, although Marquez has said he is unlikely to fight again at lightweight and plans to move up to junior welterweight. If Marquez leaves the division, the Katsidis-Mitchell winner will become the WBO's full titleholder.
Katsidis (26-2, 21 KOs), 29, claimed a vacant interim belt in September when he took a split decision from 2004 U.S. Olympian Vicente Escobedo in Las Vegas. Katsidis has boxed in England before. In 2007, he scored a fifth-round knockout of Graham Earl to claim an interim belt in a memorable shootout that was among the best fights of the year.
Mitchell (31-0, 23 KOs), 25, is one of England's top young fighters. He's coming off a second-round knockout of Ignacio Mendoza last month and easily outpointed Breidis Prescott -- who owns a first-round knockout of junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan -- in December.
"Frank has done a fantastic job getting me the fight and bringing it to England," Mitchell said. "I know all about Katsidis. I've watched him over here against my then-stablemate Graham Earl and I've watched all his fights on DVD. My trainer Jimmy Tibbs is the best in the business and he'll work out the plan to beat this guy. This is the kind of fight I've dreamed of since I was kid and now [that] I've got it I can't wait.
"The English and the Aussies have got a big rivalry and we kicked their arses last year to regain the Ashes [the prize in a storied cricket rivalry between England and Australia], so I'm looking forward to kicking Katsidis' arse to win the title," he said.
Top Rank wins Cruz-Salido bid
Also Tuesday, Top Rank won an IBF purse bid for the right to stage the match between featherweight titleholder Cristobal Cruz and mandatory challenger Orlando Salido.
Top Rank, which handles Salido, bid $251,000, edging the $250,000 offer made by Artie Pelullo, Cruz's promoter. The fight is due within 90 days.
Top Rank's win was surprising because under the rules of the bid it has to give Cruz 85 percent of the money ($213,350) while Salido gets just 15 percent ($37,650).
Carl Moretti of Top Rank said the fight would take place in the spring in Mexico, where both fighters are from, and likely be televised on "Top Rank Live," the company's new series that runs three times per month on Fox Sports en Espanol and Fox Sports Net.
Cruz (39-11-2), 32, who will be making his fourth defense, won the vacant title in October 2008 when he took a split decision against Salido (33-10-2, 22 KOs), 29, who has won his only two bouts since then.
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.
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