Tim Tszyu next fight, first interview after Vergil Ortiz fight cancelled, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence in Australian’s sights

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Australia’s Tim Tszyu has declared he could go straight into a world title blockbuster against either Terence Crawford or Errol Spence Jnr next – convinced both superstars will hold super welterweight belts within months.

Better, the Australian insists new boxing powerhouse Turki Al-Sheikh could make either fight happen, stressing: “He knows who the man is”.

Speaking for the first time since his own title bout against American prodigy Vergil Ortiz Jnr was cancelled, Tszyu has told Fox Sports Australia he will be ready for a return to sparring in “early June” and a fight, most likely, in the final third of this year.

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The Sydneysider also revealed there was no guarantee he would fight Ortiz next, and even suggested he could go straight into a bout with the likes of Crawford, Spence or even longtime adversary, Jermell Charlo.

Tszyu added that he was already hearing talk that he would face the winner of a proposed bout between Spence and Sebastian Fundora – the man who beat him in March for both the WBO and WBC super welterweight crowns.

If that is the path his promoters No Limit take, Tszyu wants at least two more fights before the championship showdown – with possible contenders including former super welterweight king Charlo and Erickson Lubin, who he was initially slated to fight this year before talks collapsed.

The news continues a rollercoaster year for ‘The Soul Taker’ who was slated to face Ortiz Jnr on a massive August card in Los Angeles headlined by Crawford and WBA super welterweight champ Israil Madrimov.

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However a fortnight ago, the Aussie was surprisingly pulled from the fight on medical advice.

Speaking on Thursday, Tszyu confirmed initial reports suggesting he was forced out because a nasty head wound suffered in his March fight against Fundora — which saw him fight effectively blind for 30 minutes — had not yet healed enough to resume sparring.

He added his medical team were concerned about risking ongoing injury if he returned on the timeline planned.

The shock withdrawal also came only days after the Aussie had opened up his preparations for Ortiz Jnr, who has won all 21 fights by KO, with a two-week camp in Thailand, half of which had been spent training alongside his Hall of Fame father, Kostya.

Despite the setback, and depending on how the division’s landscape now pieces together in coming months, Tszyu insists he could go straight into a title fight next against the sport’s biggest names.

“I can definitely go straight back into a world title fight because I didn’t come out of the Fundora fight as a loser,” he stressed of what was eventually, and despite fighting for 10 rounds seriously impacted by that now infamous head wound, a split decision loss.

“The whole world knows that.

“I didn’t get bashed.

“Even though Fundora won, I was hurting him.

“Did you see his face after the fight? See his nose?

“Other than a few bruises, I was fresh.

“I just had that cut.

“So of course, I can still go straight back into a big fight.

“I think Spence beats Fundora and I think Crawford wins as well, but it won’t be an easy fight.

“But I honestly believe I’m the king at 154.”

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Tim Tszyu (in gold & black short) and Sebastian Fundora (in red & black short) exchange punches during their super welterweight titel fightSource: Supplied

Tszyu added however that, right now, he is not in contract talks against anyone, including a rescheduled Ortiz bout.

“I don’t have anything lined up,” he said.

“But I’ll be ready to go soon.

“As soon as I get the clearance, I’m in.

“When they give me the green light, and I’m allowed to fight, I’m in.”

And as for what he wants?

“I’d like to fight the winner of them two,” he said, referencing the showdown between Spence and Fundora which is in the works for October in Dallas, Texas.

However asked if that would be next, the Aussie continued: “Nah, I want to have another two fights in between.

“And right now there are multiple names flying around.

“Of course I want to fight for the belts, I’d like to fight Charlo, Fundora, Erickson Lubin is out there and (Bakhram) Murtazaliev, the IBF champ.

“But right now it’s a waiting game, which is frustrating.

“I’m not somebody who likes to wait.

“But they’re saying I can return to sparring in early July.

“Which for the Ortiz fight would’ve meant two-and-a-half weeks of sparring.

“And I’m not going into a fight like that, unprepared.

“It would be complete stupidity.”

The proposed fight with Ortiz was put together quickly, and with much hype, by Turki Al-Sheikh, the Saudi Arabian heavy hitter who is now making some of the biggest fights in the sport.

Quizzed on why His Excellency had been so keen for the bout, Tszyu grinned: “He knows who the man is.


“I’m just pissed I didn’t get to fight.”

While Tszyu suggested there was no guarantee the Ortiz fight would be rescheduled for him next, he added: “Hopefully Ortiz and I can get it on sometime in the future.

“It’s a fight I definitely want, 100 per cent.”

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Elsewhere, and despite various reports, Tszyu also revealed Team Fundora had initially been agreeable to a rematch, most likely in the United States.

“They were keen for the rematch,” he said.

“That was fine.

“But because of (issues with) the cut, we then allowed the Fundora and Spence match to take place.”

Asked exactly what had gone wrong with the head cut, he laughed: “Ask the f…ing doctors, man.

“I was training in Thailand – hadn’t started sparring – and then when I came home, I was scheduled for a quick check up, just to make sure I was right to start sparring again.

“And he said ‘nah not yet … it’s not ready’.

“The skin hadn’t come together properly.

“I don’t know the exact details but they said it couldn’t be rushed because the cut was in a bad area, and if it kept opening up, it could affect me for the rest of my career.

“And when they told me it like that, I understood a bit more.

“But you know how I am, I really had the s…s.”

Certainly it has been a wild year for Australian boxing’s poster boy.

Tszyu was less than 10 weeks out from the proposed showdown with Ortiz Jnr when his promoter, No Limit CEO George Rose, confirmed the interim WBA super welterweight title showdown was off.

Rose revealed the 29-year-old needed more time to heal up after suffering a deep head laceration in the upset March loss against towering American southpaw Fundora.

On that occasion, the then WBO champ had been looking to unify for the first time in a fight that also saw the vacant WBC crown up for grabs in Las Vegas.

Yet after dominating the opening two rounds, Tszyu was then forced to effectively fight blind for the next 10 after a wayward elbow split him in the dying moments of the second – with the blood loss so significant, Tszyu became increasingly impeded but still gamely battled on for a split decision loss.

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