A planned open workout in Minneapolis has been cancelled by Tim Tszyu’s team due to concerns the extreme temperature drop from Las Vegas could see the fighter develop a flu days before his world title eliminator.
Tszyu flies from dusty, dry Las Vegas to ice cold Minneapolis on Tuesday, and in his promotional schedule to hype the fight against Tyrell Gausha this weekend was an open workout to allow the public to see him in action.
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However, Tszyu’s manager Glen Jennings has barred his fighter from training anywhere outdoors in Minneapolis, and will limit any time that Tszyu is exposed to the cold conditions, with the city having just been in a snow emergency and temperatures to dip below zero this week.
“Our camp has decided against an open workout, we don’t want Tim exposed to the cold, we’re very cautious of that, we don’t want him to pick up a bug,” Jennings said.
“We’re also mindful that Covid is still alive and well in the US, we are not going to take any risks.
“We’ve been here in Vegas where the air is so dry, your skin, your lips get dried out, your throat gets hoarse, and then we move to freezing temperatures and snow in Minneapolis.
“Those are extreme differences and if an athlete can perform by training in both of those conditions within the same week, they are superhuman.
“We have organised an indoor gym for Tim not far from our hotel, and we will have a car taking us to and from venues so he’ll have limited outdoor time.”
Tszyu’s trainer Igor Goloubev raised his concerns earlier this week.
“We already spoke about this, because he is training in the heat, when we go over there it’s -14 in the morning, we will stay in the gym to avoid catching the flu,” Goloubev said.
“I have experienced this myself, I come from Siberia and we have training sometimes in -20 degrees, you cover your face with a special material when you’re running.
“When we get there we will only have three days until the weigh-in, but it’s better if you don’t go outside at all, don’t be outside, don’t breathe this cold air.
“The preparation is really done now, I’m not worried about his weight, he’ll make weight properly and we’ll just focus on the game plan, and just be hungry and mentally ready to jump in the ring and do the business.”
While it is forecast to snow on Wednesday, the one public outing Tszyu is expected to attend is the NBA match between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns, where he’s expected to sit courtside.
Plans are already in place to bring Tim Tszyu back to Las Vegas in September for a world title fight, to be promoted by Australia’s No Limit Boxing.
This means Tszyu is set to headline two American shows in the space of six months, with his world title eliminator against Terrell Gausha taking place next weekend in Minneapolis.
No Limit chief executive George Rose has started planning for the September return at the request of Tszyu, who has relished his training camp in Vegas this week.
“I’ll come back here hopefully, we can do Australia but man, I love this thrill,” Tszyu said.
Tszyu is already the No.1 mandatory WBO super-welterweight challenger, and is set to get first crack at the unified champion when Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano have their rematch on May 14.
“Charlo would be pretty cool here in America, just because it would be a bigger fight.” Tszyu said.
“Whoever wins has all the belts, they call the shots. There’s not much you can do about it.
“But I love Vegas.”
Rose revealed that he is already plotting a return to the city where Tszyu’s father Kostya won his first world title and headlined five blockbuster bouts.
“After the short time we’ve spent here, the energy in the town, I can understand why the big fights come here, and it’s very clear to us and to Tim is that we want to headline a show in Vegas, without a doubt,” Rose said.
“The plan absolutely is to bring Tim back to Vegas to headline his second American show of 2022.
“We love Sydney, we love Australia, we love fighting there.
“And we saw in November the crowds are getting behind Tim in Sydney and the vibe is building, but there’s a crazy vibe in Las Vegas and for any person who competes at that level, who wants to operate in this arena, you’ve got to come to Vegas.
“Usually when Tim says what he wants to do, we find a way to make it happen. If he wants to fight in Vegas, we will find a way to make it happen.”
With No Limit holding promotional rights over Tszyu, they want to run the potential world title fight under their operational banner, likely as co-promoters with Premier Boxing Champions who have both Charlo and Castano on their books.
No Limit have turned Tszyu into the biggest pay-per-view star in Australia, and have also produced three of the highest-rating linear boxing shows in Fox Sports history; Paul Gallen vs Junior Paulo, Anthony Mundine vs Tommy Browne, and the recent debut of Tszyu’s younger brother Nikita against Aaron Stahl.
“It’s not only a dream of Tim to fight here, but we want to bring a No Limit show to Las Vegas, we love the big events and here is where the biggest shows are,” Rose said.
“I think we’ve shown what can we do as a promotional company in Australia, people know the level to expect from a No Limit show, and we want to bring that to the world stage.”
But this plan highlights just how big of a risk Tszyu is taking by fighting Gausha at The Armory, Minneapolis next Saturday (Sunday noon AEST).
American Olympian Gausha (22-2-1, 11KO) presents Tszyu (20-0, 15KO) with his toughest test yet, in what is a voluntary fight that Tszyu could have avoided and still remained next in line to fight for the championship.
If Tszyu suffers his first defeat, his September Vegas title dreams would go up in smoke.