Rising Tim Tszyu returns to the ring May 15
By Anthony Cocks
IBF number 15 junior middleweight Tim Tszyu 12-0 (10) has revealed his hit list of opponents culminating in an all-Australian shootout with former world champion Jeff Horn 19-1-1 (13) next year.
At a media conference to announce his challenge to reigning Australian 154-pound champion Joel Camilleri 17-5-1 (8) on Tuesday, the undefeated 24-year-old laid out his plans for the next 12 months.
The son of former undisputed junior welterweight champion and International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Kostya Tszyu said he wants to defeat local rivals Dwight Ritchie and Michael Zerafa after Camilleri before heading into a big-money bout with Manny Pacquiao-conqueror Horn next year.
If all goes to plan, Tszyu will face Horn at the new Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta – the same hallowed turf where his father made the second defence of his world title against Hugo Pineda 23 years ago.
“Let’s bring Jeff Horn down here to Parramatta Stadium,” Tszyu told the Herald. “Anthony Joshua packed out Wembley Stadium with 90,000 people. My goal is to pack out the Parramatta Stadium. That’s the end goal, that’s for sure. We can make it happen in a year.
“My manager is in the works with it. It’s an exciting time to be alive for myself.”
Tszyu recently returned from a three-week training camp in the United States where he worked out at the famed Wild Card gym of Freddie Roach in Hollywood and the Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas.
The Sydneysider received rave reviews for his sparring sessions in both cities and turned back an overture from promotional powerhouse Top Rank in favour of local promoter Matthew Rose of No Limit Boxing Promotions with a view to cleaning out his own backyard before venturing overseas.
“Freddie set up some sparring and was very impressed. He said I’ve got a lot of potential and I can definitely become a world champion,” Tszyu said.
“He described me in one word: ’gun’. When he said ‘gun’ it brought a smile. It was cool to have someone like that say something like that.”
The ambitious Tszyu well knows the currency his famous surname has both domestically and abroad. With Anthony Mundine’s career in its twilight, Tszyu sees himself as the heir to the throne – and the one man he needs to defeat to become the face of Aussie boxing is Horn.
“My aim is to go bigger than all of those fighters,” he said. “No disrespect to them, they have achieved great things in life. But I believe I can go to the next level.”
Before he can realise those dreams, Tszyu must first turn back Camilleri at The Star casino in Sydney on May 15.
The Melbourne schoolteacher has lost just one of his past 10 fights, a disputed decision to world-rated Dwight Ritchie, and has improved dramatically under the tutelage of coach Sam Labruna.
“I’m giving him the opportunity,” the 28-year-old Camilleri said. “I’m the Australian champion, I believe I’m a better fighter than him. I’ve beaten better fighters than him.
“He’s planning the fights after me but I will be the hardest of all the opponents he’s mentioned.”
Tszyu insists he isn’t overlooking Camilleri but says he has bigger fish to fry.
“There’s a few boys talking it up here domestically, they are in some kind of imaginary world they think they are in,” Tszyu said.
“I have got a plan, we just have to wipe everyone out before we can go overseas.
“He’s got the Australian title. It’s nothing personal, he’s a tough boy. But I’m coming for his belt.
“I’ve seen him a bit, he’s tough, but there are levels to this game.”