‘Tim’s not the boxer his father was’
If Tim’s last name wasn’t Tszyu, this fight wouldn’t be happening. It wouldn’t be on our radar at all.
But his surname called for us to make it happen, so we’ll see what he can do.
He’s 15-0 right now which is a great record, and we’ve seen that he’s a good fighter, but he’s not his father. He doesn’t mirror Kostya’s style much as he fights more straight on and he’s easier to hit.
Time will tell if I can land the big shots on him.
Other up-and-comers are jealous of him for getting this opportunity so early in his career, understandably. He has a lot to prove.
He wants to go all the way in this sport but we’re yet to see if he’s good enough. He’s got good boxing IQ and some hard amateur fights under his belt, but this will be his first proper test.
I watched his most recent fight against Jack Brubaker, a tough opponent who was far too easy to hit. Brubaker wanted to stand and bang, but that was never going to work against Tim’s straight punches down the line. That’s one of his greatest strengths in a fight.
On the other hand, I feel my movement is one of the main reasons that I can beat Tim. I’ve got very good footwork and I’ll be able to angle off and keep him from standing right in front of me, where he throws his best punches.
I was interested to see that my last opponent, Michael Zerafa, is actually tipping me in this one, on the back of my aggression, strength and ‘awkwardness’ (his words, not mine).
That would have to be the first nice thing that Zerafa has ever said about me. It’s nice to have him on my side for once!
I suppose I gave him some reasons to doubt me after our first fight, which I lost, but after my win the second time around it’s nice to know that he has gained some respect for what I can do.
Michael knows that Tim’s a lot greener than we are. We’ve both had a lot more experience against world class fighters than he has.
It’s hard to know what you’ve got in a fighter until they make that step up. Michael and I have shown that we can box at the elite level. Now it’s Tim’s turn to find out if he has what it takes. This is his big chance.
It will be interesting to see how he goes.
‘We used to be friendly’
I’ve seen plenty of Tim Tszyu over the years, in Australian boxing circles, but I’d call him more of an acquaintance than a friend.
I first met him through a mutual friend, Dundee Kim, very early on in my career. They came down to the gym where I was training to watch a session of mine, before we did some pad work and took a few photos.
We used to be friendly, but that’s been replaced by a seriousness now that we know we’re fighting each other. That’s natural because when two blokes find out they’ve got to punch each other in the face, the dynamic always changes.
But I’m not the type of fighter that needs to use anger or animosity for motivation. At the start of my career I did, but these days I’m at my best when I’m relaxed, feeling the same as if I’m about to head into a sparring session.
It’s all business.
‘It showed a lack of confidence’
I wasn’t too involved in the negotiations for this fight, to be honest. I just got told what Tszyu’s camp wanted, a 12-round fight, and dug my heels in over that one detail.
This was my thinking: if they wanted the fight, they could accept the terms in front of them. And really, they were pretty good terms for a fighter at this stage of his career.
If I’d been in the same situation at his age, I would have been jumping at the opportunity.
At the end of the day, 12 rounds wasn’t anything I was interested in. I needed to take some time off to recover after my war with Zerafa and I’ve only just got back into training now.
I didn’t want to sign up for any more rounds than the number of weeks I have to prepare. With about 10 weeks to train for this fight, 10 rounds became my number.
If anything, I think their hesitation shows a lack of confidence from his team, that they might not be able to stop me in this fight. They believe I drop off in the later rounds.
They also probably wanted to give Tim some experience at fighting a 12-round fight, to prepare him for any title fight he might get down the track. They want to see if he can make it.
But at the end of the day, if this fight gets stopped before the 10th it’s hardly going to matter anyway.