Tim Tszyu warned ahead of 'risky fight' against Tony Harrison
Despite being a favourite against Tony Harrison, there is a lot that could go wrong for Tim Tszyu.
Tim Tszyu put his faith in his own boxing ability by agreeing to the interim WBO super welterweight title fight against American fighter Tony Harrison - despite the potential for a loss to put a handbrake on his career. Tszyu had been due to fight unified super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo before a hand injury to Charlo in training camp ruined that proposition.
Unwilling to wait until Charlo recovers later this year, Tszyu looked to prove his mettle in the US by agreeing to take on Harrison in the interim, despite the fight contract with Charlo remaining in place. This isn't some knockabout tune-up for Tszyu either, with Harrison being the only man to have defeated Charlo previously.
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With the jury still out on Tszyu's skills for many American observers, the fight against Harrison will be crucial in establishing the 28-year-old credentials. His last fight was a victory over Terrell Gausha in his US debut in Minneapolis 12 months ago.
With the winner between Tszyu and Harrison all but certain to fight Charlo for the unified belt later this year, maintaining his undefeated record is a must. However the risks of doing so and potentially vacating the Charlo fight could have devastating ramifications for Tszyu's career, News Corp's Paul Kent believes.
“It’s a risky fight for him,” Kent said “If I was handling Tim, I wouldn’t be very happy about taking it. He should be able to out-box Harrison. I think he’ll be too clever for him.
“The concern is that he already had the fight with Charlo contracted. He didn’t need to take the fight and risk potentially losing the fight.
“That said, if he comes through the fight with a good win, it really helps him going into the Charlo fight. It’s going to really sharpen him up for that. It’s a lot of risk and a lot of reward each way. But I commend him for taking it because it’s a brave decision.”
The fight card in Sydney begins from 12pm, with Tszyu and Harrison's bout slated to go ahead any time after 3pm. Tszyu has been favoured by bookmakers, paying $1.45 to Harrison's $3.
Tim Tszyu fighting with father Kostya absent
Tszyu revealed this week that Kostya is unlikely to make the trip from Russia to Sydney this time around due to a family illness. Kostya is currently in Russia caring for Tim's half-sister, who is sick.
"My little sister's a little bit sick right now so I think he's looking after her at the moment," Tszyu said on Wednesday. "So we'll see how it all pans out. Not sure, man."
Even if Kostya isn't able to make the trip to Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena, Tszyu said he'd received the same advice as usual from his old man. "Just to be smart. Try and not get hit too much," Tszyu said. "Boxing's quite simple, man. Hit your opponent more than he hits you."
Despite them both being boxing stars, with Tim on course to live up to his famous father's legacy, Kostya has never been a big part of his life. Kostya, a former unified light-middleweight world champion, left his wife and children in 2012 to return to his native Russia.
“If my husband wants to stay in Russia, let him stay there,” Kostya's ex-wife and Tim's mum Natasha said in 2012. “It is an important life for him. He is an important man there and he is where he belongs. Men should be men. If he met someone else I can’t do anything about it. If she could look after him in Russia, why not.”
Kostya is now married to Tatiana Averina, with the pair having two children of their own together. Tim previously said he didn't mind the fact that Kostya hadn't seen him box much live.
“My dad is a hard man, especially when he comes to watch my fights,” he said. “He’s only watched one of my fights and let me say it was … chaotic.
“My first pro fight. It was chaotic. It was hard to deal with. It was just out of control. Because he’s a control freak, it’s hard for him to watch someone he loves fight in the ring. Especially for him.”
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