By Jake Donovan
Drama was averted at the scales Friday in London, as all fighters made weight for the blockbuster Boxnation telecast Saturday evening, which airs live from the Wembley Arena at 10:00pm local time.
The show is headlined by the 12-round lightweight bout between Michael Katsidis and Ricky Burns. At stake is an interim title that can prove to be a lucrative bargaining chip in the next few weeks.
Both fighters came in at the divisional limit of 135 lb. (9 stone, 9 pound), but required some extra effort from Burns (32-2, 9K). The former super featherweight champ is moving up in weight for this fight after struggling to shrink his 5’10” frame down to the 130 lb limit, turning down a trip to the states for what would’ve been an HBO-televised title defense against Adrien Broner.
Apparently making 135 lb wasn’t much easier, as he and his team were on the scales moments before the weigh-in, stripping down to his birthday suit to ensure he was on weight. He was on weight for the official checkpoint, although he remained on the scale in a moment of confusion before being instructed to jump off.
Katsidis (28-4, 23KO) made weight seemingly with ease, as the visiting Aussie is always in superb condition. The 31- year old had lost two straight title fights to Juan Manuel Marquez and Robert Guerrero before turning things around with a 3rd round knockout over Michael Lozada in August.
The evening’s chief support is a 12-round crossroads bout between budding super middleweight contender George Groves and divisional trialhorse Paul Smith. Both came within in the 168 lb (12 stone) limit, Groves a hair under at 167.75 (11 stone, 13 pound and 3 ¾ oz), while Smith was a full pound lighter at 167 lb (11 stone, 13 pound).
Groves is coming off his high-profile narrow points win over divisional rival James “Chunky” Degale earlier this year. Smith (31-2, 17KO) has scored two straight 1st round knockouts since suffering a 9th round stoppage loss at the hands of DeGale late last year.
Undefeated middleweight prospect Billy Joe Saunders – a member of the 2008 UK Olympic boxing squad, came in at a near career low 159½ lb (11 stone, 5 pound, 5 ½ oz) for his swing bout with Gary Boulden (5-2-2, 0KO), who came in at 159 lb (11 stone, 5 pound).
The fight card airs live Saturday evening on Boxnation, which begins at 10PM local time. The show will also be available online at www.boxnation.tv, for countries with permitted access to the live stream (the United States not being one of those countries). Doors for the show open at 5:30pm local time.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected]