Michael Katsidis says fight will go on

Updated: October 26, 2010, 6:44 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Australian lightweight star Michael Katsidis will go through with his fight against world champion Juan Manuel Marquez as planned, despite the death of his older brother, Stathi Katsidis, on Tuesday.

Katsidis (27-2, 22 KOs), an interim titleholder, said Thursday that he would indeed challenge Marquez (51-5-1, 37 KOs) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on Nov. 27. The fight will be televised on HBO.

"The fight will go on! I will do this for Stathi, my family and myself," Katsidis, who is training in Thailand, said in a prepared statement.

"The moment I walked in for a grueling sparing session after hearing the news of his death earlier that day, my trainer, Brendon Smith, shook my hand and said to me, 'You are about to take the bravest step of your life.' We nodded, smiled and went to work. I worked as I have never done before. He is with me and will be all the way. I am happy about this.

"I have never experienced anything like I felt that day. Stathi is inside me! We will fight this fight together. I know this is what he wants."

Stathi Katsidis, one of the top thoroughbred horse racing jockeys in Australia, was found dead in his Brisbane home on Tuesday at age 31. He was found by his girlfriend Melissa Jackson, who is also the mother of their 4-year-old son.

The cause of death has not been determined, although he had a history of drug and alcohol problems, including a positive test for ecstasy in 2008, and a prior drunk driving arrest, according to Australian media reports.

"I have lost my closest friend, my inspiration in life, my one and only brother," Michael Katsidis said. "This is something I could never imagine, but for some reason I feel his life is not a loss. My brother is me! We live our lives through each other. We dedicate our triumphs to one another and share the challenges we face in life.

"I would like to thank everyone for their well wishes and prayers for my brother, my family and myself. God bless."

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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