By Laine Clark
All the pain and frustration of a dark 10 months were momentarily forgotten for Australia's Michael Katsidis when he downed Mexican junior welterweight Michael Lozada on the Gold Coast on Saturday night.
Having his first fight on home soil in five years had helped bring closure over the tragic death of his brother - champion jockey Stathi - for Katsidis.
But he still had some demons to exorcise judging by his demolition of Lozada (38-9-1, 30 KOs).
Katsidis, 30, finally dropped Lozada 2 minutes and 18 seconds into the third round after yet another barrage of body shots.
Katsidis (28-4 record, 23 KOs) had said he was unsure whether it was moving up a division or being surrounded by family and friends that had him buzzing ahead of Saturday night's fight.
Whatever it was, it proved a winning formula as Katsidis made the first confident step toward re-establishing himself after back-to-back title defeats.
It was Katsidis' first fight in a local ring in 11 bouts stretching back to June 2006.
And his first on home soil since the shock passing of his brother last October.
Katsidis refused to postpone last November's fight with WBA and WBO lightweight champion Juan Manuel Marquez, held just weeks after his brother's death.
He not only lost to Marquez but also his next world title fight to American Robert Guerrero in April.
Katsidis said he felt so good at his new weight that he wanted to use the Lozada bout as a stepping stone to blockbuster fights - including a showdown with Mexican superstar Erik Morales.
Katsidis sized up his opponent early before unloading a barrage of body shots on the Mexican in the opening round.
The Toowoomba-bred champ looked like he wanted an early night by landing a huge right early in the second, and looked to have dropped Lozada in the same round, only for the referee to call a slip.
But the end soon came in the third.
Tags: Michael Katsidis