Rising Tim Tszyu steps up against Dwight Ritchie in world title eliminator

Tim Tszyu and Dwight Ritchie to rumble August 14

By Anthony Cocks

Tim Tszyu vs. Dwight Ritchie
Tim Tszyu vs. Dwight Ritchie

A potential top five world rating will be on the line when undefeated junior middleweight Tim Tszyu 13-0 (10) meets once-beaten Dwight Ritchie 19-1 (2) over 10 rounds at the ICC Exhibition Centre in Sydney, NSW on August 14 live on Main Event pay-per-view in Australia.


The 24-year-old Tszyu, who is ranked number 14 by both the IBF and the WBA at 154-pounds, claimed the Australian title in his last fight with a 10-round unanimous decision win over Joel Camilleri at The Star Casino in Sydney on May 15.


"I’ve been chasing this fight for a long time," Tszyu told reporters in Sydney at a press conference to announce the fight on Friday.


IBF number 10 contender Ritchie, 27, who hails from the regional Victorian town of Shepparton and goes by the moniker ‘The Fighting Cowboy’, also holds a 10-round points victory over Camilleri in a fight that took place at the Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington, Victoria last August.


Ritchie has been boxing in the punch-for-pay ranks for four times as long as Tszyu despite being just three years older and has almost double the number of bouts. After turning pro in 2009 and reeling off four straight wins in five months, Ritchie saw those results changed to no contests after it was discovered he was competing underaged.


The MJA Platinum-managed Ritchie sees the Tszyu fight as the perfect opportunity to prove he belongs on the world stage.


"He’s coming up, I’m coming up. There can only be one. It’s a make or break fight for the both of us," Ritchie said.


At the press conference to announce the Tszyu vs Camilleri bout earlier this year, the son of former undisputed junior welterweight champion and International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Kostya Tszyu laid out his hitlist of future opponents.


“I’ve got four fights on the horizon,” Tszyu explained at the presser in April. “First Camilleri for the Australian title, then (Dwight) Ritchie, (Michael) Zerafa and (Jeff) Horn.”


Tszyu was adamant that he needed to clean out his own backyard first before heading overseas.


"You’ve got to be number one in Australia, you’ve got to test yourself here," Tszyu told AAP earlier this year.


"It’s like climbing a mountain, you can’t go straight to the top, you’ve got to walk, run, whatever you’ve got to do, but you’ve got to slowly get up there, that’s the plan."


Tszyu has already begun his training camp in the Philippines where he has been sparring with multi-division world champion Manny Pacquiao ahead of the Filipino superstar’s challenge to WBA welterweight champion Keith Thurman in Las Vegas next month.


The undercard to the blockbuster main event is already taking shape with knockout artists Mateo Tapia 10-0 (6) and Renold Quinlan 12-4 (8) meeting in a 10-round super middleweight bout that is unlikely to go the distance.


Entertaining welterweight ‘Gelignite’ Jack Brubaker 15-2-2 (7) returns against an opponent to be named in another 10-round bout, while Aussie Rules football star Tayla Harris 4-0-1 returns to the ring against debutant Renee Gartner over five two-minute rounds at middleweight.




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