While Michael Zerafa might have extended the olive branch to his old rival, Tim Tszyu says a rescheduled bout with Australian boxing’s villain isn’t on his radar.
The pair were due to fight last July but Zerafa pulled out at the last minute, seeing Stevie Spark step up two weight classes to fight Tszyu on short notice.
Since then, Tszyu’s star has continued to rise, earning him a shot at undisputed super-welterweight champion Jermell Charlo in Las Vegas on January 29 (Jan. 28 in the US).
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As for Zerafa, he is only just emerging from the boxing wilderness.
The 30-year-old will return to the limelight when he takes on Danilo Creati in Sydney next Wednesday ahead of what he says is a “verbally agreed” fight with middleweight superstar and IBF, WBA and The Ring champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in March.
Asked about Zerafa’s return to the scene and plans, Tszyu warned him about getting carried away.
“If it happens it happens but people can verbally agree to winning the lotto for $30 million as well,” Tszyu told Sporting News.
“I think a verbal agreement is not an identification that you’re going to fight anyone.
“Last time I heard, GGG was fighting [Esquiva] Falcao for the mandatory title.”
In just over 10 weeks time, Tszyu has the opportunity to become a global superstar.
Charlo represents the toughest test of his 21-fight career and Tszyu will be an underdog with the bookies.
Zerafa has said he hopes the 28-year-old can get the job done.
“Despite me and Tim’s differences… I want him to win,” Zerafa told Sporting News earlier this month.
“It’s good for Australian boxing. I hope he can bring it home.”
He also added that a rearranged fight between the pair was still very much on the cards.
“100 per cent. It needs to happen,” Zerafa said.
“It’s the biggest fight in Australian boxing. I believe it’s bigger than Mundine vs. Green.”
@sportingnewsau Michael Zerafa is BACK #boxing #michaelzerafa #danelocreati #fyp ♬ original sound – Sporting News Australia
Tszyu however doesn’t share his enthusiasm.
“I’m fighting Charlo for the undisputed world title, for all four belts, at MGM Grand in Vegas,” Tszyu said.
“I’m not thinking about this bloke on the other side of Australia.
“I’m looking at such bigger things on the horizon, dreams that you work for your whole life.
“Zerafa was there in the past – was supposed to be there – he’s done, he’s finished.
“He can do what he wants to do, go fight someone that’s had seven fights.”
Zerafa’s return to the mainstream will feature on the same card as Paul Gallen’s final fight, a rematch with Justin Hodges.
Tszyu is one of many fighters who have benefited from appearing on Gallen cards in the past and he paid tribute to the retiring warhorse.
“I think he’s done a great thing for us,” Tszyu said.
“He was able to bring so many eyes to boxing and give that platform for young fighters to reach that level.
“There’s plenty of young fighters now that are headlining their own shows.
“History will always say it, he beat a former world champion (Lucas Browne) and he beat Mark Hunt. You saw what Mark Hunt did the other week.
“What Paul Gallen did in his career, he deserves all the credit that he gets.”
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Gallen and Tszyu appear to be cut from a similar cloth when it comes to their workrate in the gym.
Already renowned for his high-pressure fighting style, Tszyu believes his current training camp in Thailand will have him in supreme condition and ready to go when he heads to Los Angeles to begin the final phase of his preparations in the coming weeks.
“I’ve had one of the hardest 10 rounds that I’ve ever felt just because of the conditions and your body’s not used to it,” Tszyu said of some of his sessions in Thailand.
“It’s more of a mental battle, pushing it through when your legs don’t work no more.
“My last sparring yesterday was just perfect, on point.
“It’s crazy how the body adapts, it just needs a little bit of time and conditioning.
“When this fight came up, the plan was to get into crazy physical shape before I get to Vegas, so once I get to America eight weeks out from the fight, I’m already ready to go and ready to dominate sparring.
“Thats when I get all the skillful boys from America to push me to that next level of skills.”