Horn torn as “battle of the brothers” reignites Tszyu rivalry

Jeff Horn is torn.

The battle between his family and the Tszyus has been reignited now that Jeff’s brother, Ben, is fighting against Tim Tszyu’s sibling, Nikita, at the Hordern Pavillion on July 20. Billed as the “Battle of the Brothers”, it is a chance for Ben to avenge Jeff’s final loss, to Tim Tszyu two years ago.

Jeff was magnanimous in defeat to Tim and hopes the “Soul Taker” gets his wish and become a unified world champion by beating cocky American Jermell Charlo. However, he also wants the Tszyus to suffer a defeat at the hands of Ben to square the ledger between the families at one-all.

“It is weird,” Jeff said of cheering against one member of the Tszyu family and against the other.

“I think Tim is world-class. He’s got a very tough battle with Charlo, he’s a good boxer as well. It’s a good thing with Charlo being overconfident because he’s not 100 per cent ready for this camp, it sounds like they are talking disrespectfully to Tim, saying he’s not very good. Hopefully they get a shock.

“I really hope Tim gets the victory and can prove himself as one of the best we’ve ever had.

Tim and Nikita Tszyu have reignited their rivalry with the Horn family.Credit:James Brickwood

“I’m frustrated to lose against him, but what better than to see the person who beat you go out and defeat everyone else, that would make me feel very good.”

It’s an altogether different matter when it comes to Ben and Nikita. The latter will go into their bout as the overwhelming favourite after making short work of his opponents in his first two professional fights. Jeff Horn has plenty of respect for the Tszyus, but hopes his brother can inflict a loss upon them.

“It’s a tough fight, I know Nikita is a strong boy and he’s got it in his blood,” Jeff said. “They have the record on us, so hopefully Ben can get it back.

“It’s going to be a tough one because Nikita likes to bang, that’s for sure. Ben likes to bang as well, they will be trading punches. I guess it comes down to whoever catches the other the fastest. Hopefully it’s Ben, that he can get him with a good one.”

Australian boxer Nikita Tszyu, younger brother of Tim Tszyu, is preparing for a fight against Ben Horn.Credit:James Brickwood

Pressed for a prediction, Jeff said: “Hopefully it goes Ben’s way on points.”

Given Nikita’s first two opponents haven’t lasted more than just a few minutes, it’s unlikely the bout will go the entire six rounds.

Told of Jeff Horn’s comments, Tim Tszyu said: “Jeff is a top bloke, he really supports the Aussies. But sorry Jeff, we’re on the opposite sides again. Deep down inside, Jeff knows what is going to happen. It’s not going to go past the first.”

Several potential opponents have publicly called out Nikita Tszyu, only to think better of stepping into the ring with him after witnessing his previous knockouts. Nikita said he respected Jeff Horn’s views about the upcoming super-welterweight clash with Ben.

“You wouldn’t want anyone to beat up your brother,” Nikita said. “It’s your blood, the people that are closest to you.

“I always knew this fight would eventually happen, I’m glad we’re getting it done now. I’m glad he stepped up to this on pretty short notice, you have got to give credit to him. It’s cool because my brother and Jeff had a pretty big rivalry for quite some time, there was a lot of tension with it.

“I didn’t even know Ben existed until this year. It was always going to happen.”

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