Tim Tszyu has already won over his own country but Australian boxing’s golden boy is starting to make an impact on the rest of the world.
Fighting late call-up Stevie Spark after Michael Zerafa pulled out of their fight scheduled for Wednesday fight, Tszyu knew he needed to make a statement.
Ending the highly-regarded Spark, who was fighting two classes above his normal weight, was seen as an inevitability but Tszyu’s demolition job caught the attention of the world as he looks to head overseas.
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Tszyu’s signature body shots left Spark on the canvas in a crumpled mess twice as punches to the liver took their toll.
The fight was beamed around the world and ESPN+ showed the action in the US, meaning more eyeballs were able to witness Tszyu’s brutality. Veteran US boxing reporter Dan Rafael was mightily impressed by what he saw.
“Just watched @Tim_Tszyu’s impressive KO3 of Steve Spark,” Rafael tweeted. “Brutal body attack.
“I’ve said it for the past couple of years — Tszyu will win a world title. Write it down.”
Some were quick to mock the statement given multiple “world title” belts are on offer in each division outside straps officially sanctioned by boxing’s main governing bodies, but Tszyu has long been in the conversation for a shot at a title.
The 26-year-old was being talked about as a potential opponent for Patrick Teixeira when Covid-19 put his WBO title fight with Brian Castano in doubt. However, that fight eventually went ahead and Castano won to set up a bout with WBA, WBC and IBF super welterweight titleholder Jermell Charlo to unify the division.
Spark was ruined by the body shots.Source:Getty Images
Tszyu is the No. 1 challenger for the super welterweight WBO title and is No. 3 in the IBF rankings and No. 4 in the WBC rankings. He is No. 7 in The Ring Magazine rankings as well.
Ring Magazine managing editor Tom Gray praised Tszyu’s “ruthless power” and laid out his path to a world title.
“The likely scenario is for Tszyu to face an international opponent in his next outing before targeting the winner (of Castano-Charlo),” he wrote for the bible of boxing.
Charlo said Tszyu would never fight him in May but the Aussie has vowed to make an irresistible case.
“He’s got all the belts, he’s fighting for the undisputed world championship and he’s in the driver’s seat,” Tszyu told the Sydney Morning Herald at the time.
“He can pick and choose who he wants to fight. (But) I will get into a position where there is no other choice but for him to fight me.”
Watch out world, here comes Tim Tszyu.Source:Getty Images
Regardless of whether Tszyu gets a title shot or has to wait, he is eager to face some international opponents, shutting down Zerafa once again.
After calling out the Melburnian’s “disrespect” for pulling out of the fight a week before their showdown, Tszyu said he was done with Zerafa.
“I’d prefer him now without the gloves,” Tszyu said in a media scrum, holding up his wrapped hands.
Tszyu’s manager Glen Jennings said it was a milestone fight for his charge as they’re about to jump on the international stage.
“A bit of a milestone for us tonight because we’re now done domestically and moving on to the international stage,” Jennings said. “It will be a top 10, most likely a top five, quite possibly a former world champ (opponent).”
Jennings confirmed the list includes Brit Liam Smith, Danny Garcia and American Tony Harrison.
Promoter George Rose said if there’s a world title fight, he’s hoping to bring it to Australia.
Brutal scenes from Tim Tszyu.Source:Getty Images
Immediately after the fight, Tszyu called out Smith, who lost his WBO light-middleweight world title to Canelo Alvarez in 2016. Smith responded on Twitter immediately, saying: “I’ll fight him anywhere, where do I sign.
“@Tim_Tszyu congratulations on your win. Let’s go, make a serious offer and let’s have a proper fight.”
Speaking after his win over Spark, Tszyu nominated Englishman Smith has the man he’d like to take on next.
“I told Matty Rose (Tszyu’s promoter) straight away after the fight, ‘Make sure you plan the next one’,” Tszyu said. “I think they’ve got a few names in mind but Liam Smith is what we’re talking about.
“There’s a bit of politics involved with boxing (regarding a world title shot) but I think a name like Liam Smith is someone on the global stage.
“He gave Canelo (Alvarez) problems and Canelo is the best pound for pound fighter right now. So a name like that on my resume, that’s what I need.”
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