After 18 fights and 18 wins in a little over four years as a professional, Tim Tszyu says he’s in “no rush” despite calling for the “big boys” of the super welterweight division next.
At times throughout his rise to the pinnacle of Australian boxing, Tszyu has been questioned for taking too big of a leap. But time and time again, the 26-year-old has stuck the landing.
And after cutting Dennis Hogan in half, before forcing his corner to throw in the towel, Tszyu made clear, to those who still needed convincing, that he’s ready.
Hogan was the experienced head who had been in the ring with the best there is on the world stage. And yet inside Newcastle Entertainment Centre, it was Tszyu who got him out quicker than anyone had previously, including middleweight champion Jermall Charlo.
Jeff Horn was supposed to be Tszyu’s last local test. After that, Hogan proved a decent contingency plan for the all-time complication that was, and still is, COVID-19.
Now, the question stands: what’s next?
“I don’t think we need to rush,” Tszyu said post-fight. “I’m at that stage where I do believe I can compete with the big boys. Charlo got rid of Hogan in seven [rounds], I did it in five.”
“I want an international fight. I want to be recognised globally. I want to a global boxing star — that’s my goal, and it’s always been my goal. I think I need those big names, there’s a few boys that really interest me.”
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Going into the fight, Tszyu was ranked as the No. 1 contender in the WBO rankings, No. 3 in the IBF, No. 7 in the WBA, and No. 11 in the WBC.
The belts on offer in the super welterweight division belong to just two men as things stand. Jermell Charlo holds three — the WBC, WBA, and IBF belts — and Brian Castano is the WBO champion of the world after defeating Patrick Teixeira at the start of the year.
Castano is the obvious option given Tszyu is ranked No. 1 by the WBO and could be made the mandatory challenger. But if that can’t be done, there’s plenty of international talent out there, including the likes of Liam Smith and Danny Garcia; two guys Tszyu has made clear he’d fight.
“In a perfect world we’d love the straps,” Tszyu’s manager Glen Jennings said.
“ … They know overseas where Tim’s at, and the next stage for us is to plant him over there and show his style to the American market and very quickly Tim Tszyu’s name will be on the world stage.
“If it ends up being Castano and Charlo have it out, and Charlo wins, [then there’s] every chance Tim will be mandatory for Charlo. Let’s see, it’s all a political game, we’ll see how it all falls.
“But I can say this, we will stay busy regardless, and we will be working from tomorrow on securing his next fight.”
Tszyu is “desperate” for an international opponent, something his promoters at No Limit Boxing are acutely aware of. But the world isn’t normal, and Tszyu needs to keep fighting and improving.
Asked what a fight with fellow Australian Michael Zerafa would do for him, he laughed.
“Keeps me busy,” he said with a wry smile, before Jennings jumped in.
“Our plan will be now to look at some quality international opponents, and based on what we’ve seen tonight … we will be doing out best to bring those opponents to Australia, so that we can experience this,” Jennings said.
“We don’t want to necessarily go to the US and fight in an empty studio, when we can bring them here and do that [what happened tonight].”
For Tszyu it doesn’t matter as much.
“I’ll fight anywhere,” he said. “Doesn’t bother me.”
Whatever happens, Jennings believes the next 12 months will be the biggest in Tszyu’s career.
“I’m pretty sure that within the next year Tim will be an international name, for sure,” Jennings said, “and everyone in the world will know Tim Tszyu as Tim Tszyu.”
For Tszyu, the job is far from done.
“Not satisfied,” he said. “My dad was undisputed world champion for 10 years. What have I done?
“Give me a few years, I’ve got a long way to go.”