Tim Tszyu is adamant that hand surgery won’t derail his world title shot against the winner of this weekend’s Brian Castano-Jermell Charlo rematch, vowing to knock out whichever fighter emerges as the undisputed super-welterweight champion.
Tszyu will fly to the United States on Thursday morning to be ringside for the bout in California, just a day after brother Nikita’s second professional fight against Mason Smith at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre. The 27-year-old underwent operations on both hands to correct tendons that had torn from the knuckle, an injury he sustained early in his American debut against Terrell Gausha in Minneapolis. It was one of several setbacks he had to overcome to secure a points victory, including an illness that severely hampered his preparation.
“I will look straight into their eyes and tell them, ‘You’re next’“: Tim Tszyu is set to fight the winner of this weekend’s Brian Castano-Jermell Charlo rematch.Credit:Janie Barrett
“I reckon I did it in round two, both hands,” Tszyu told the Herald. “I remember thinking, ‘My hands are sore man’, but I had to push through it. I was in a kill-or-be-killed situation.
“After all the stuff in America, I also fought with torn tendons in both hands.
“It wasn’t a major surgery, just a clean-up. It wasn’t too bad, but there’s no way I was able to punch with tendons like that.
“I’ll be punching in two months. Everything will work out perfectly [to fight the Charlo-Castano winner]. They will have a rest and by the time they are ready, I’ll be ready as well.”
A portrait of Tim Tszyu, by Ksenia Hrnjak, is a finalist in the 2022 Archibald Prize.Credit:Ksenija Hrnjak
Tszyu will get the opportunity to eyeball the combatants in the lead-up to the fight and has a blunt message for both.
“I can’t wait,” he said. “I will look straight into their eyes and tell them, ‘You’re next. You are going to get knocked the f–k out’. That’s what I’m going to tell them.”
The man nicknamed the “Soul Taker” initially tipped Castano to win the fight, but now believes the Argentine will “get caught”. His preference is to fight Charlo, given the cocky American is a bigger name and that clash will help to further boost the undefeated Australian’s profile in the United States.
“I want Charlo,” Tszyu said. “I want that whole build-up, that whole buzz, that whole feel. I want a mega fight, I want Charlo. That’s my cup of tea.
“I hope he doesn’t [go up a weight division]. I’ll call him out, that’s for sure.”
Tszyu made an immediate impression on the American public during his victory over Gausha. After being knocked down in the opening round, he regained his composure to dominate a brutal battle, despite the hand injuries he sustained. It’s given him a desire to continue fighting in the United States against the biggest names in the division.
“It was a completely different buzz, different feel,” he said. “Even when the Yanks were screaming out ‘USA, USA’, I loved it. Then it changed when the momentum changed. The style of fight was entertaining.”
Tszyu is also making an impression at home. A portrait of the pugilist, painted by Sydney-based artist Ksenija Hrnjak, is a finalist for this year’s Archibald Prize.
“She did a wonderful job,” Tszyu said.
“She wanted to come to the gym to do a painting. I said sweet and sent her some photos. It’s a really cool artwork. To be a finalist – that’s the final five out of thousands –that’s a crazy achievement. I’m happy with that.”
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