In the lead up to Tim Tszyu’s last fight against Dennis Hogan, the undefeated Sydneysider laughed off claims of a fight with rival Michael Zerafa, telling reporters “you don’t get an opportunity by beating a 47-year-old grandfather.”
Of course, Tszyu was referring to Zerafa’s dominant first-round win over Anthony Mundine. But now, within a matter of weeks, Tszyu’s tune has changed.
Speaking to Main Event on the Paul Gallen vs Lucas Browne fight night, the son of the legendary Kostya, had a different view about a potential fight with his mouthy rival, while revealing his team are in discussions with fighters overseas.
“That’s a fight that excites me a little bit, a fight that I want,” Tszyu said of Zerafa. “He’s been mouthing off too much, and I’ve always wanted to put him in his place.”
Tszyu destroys Hogan, eyes world stage
While the 18-0 figher’s promoters are prepared to pay $10 million to host a looming world title fight in Australia after Brian Castano takes on Jermell Charlo in a unification bout in July, the much anticipated fight with Zerafa is close to being confirmed.
Speaking to Wide World of Sports, Zerafa said he was “surprised” by Tszyu’s comments considering the way he’s reacted to a match-up with him in the past. According to Australia’s top middleweight, he has agreed to a fight in Sydney at Bankwest Stadium in July against Tszyu, despite being “low-balled” again.
“We are very close to finalising a deal the offer is there- we’ve said yes his side has said yes,” said Zerafa.
“Now we’re just leaving all the finer details to our teams. I don’t get involved with his end but on mine we’ve agreed.
“I’m telling my team I want it I’ve been texting them every day and they say it’s looking pretty positive. It will be in July.
“They’ve low-balled us but I’m going to take it. It was never about the money. It’s better than last time.
“It will be a stadium fight. It will be in Sydney. I’m happy to fight anywhere, obviously I’d like to be in Melbourne but I’ll go anywhere. They’ve said Bankwest Stadium. There will be rematch clauses.”
The two fighters were discussing a fight last year but couldn’t get on the same page, with Zerafa saying at the time the Tszyu camp deliberately “low-balled” him so he could reject the offer. Tszyu went on to fight Kiwi Bowyn Morgan instead.
Ever since then, the Rockdale fighter has shut down talk about Zerafa, saying he would only consider such a fight if nothing else was on the table.
Zerafa said he saw “doubt” in Tszyu’s eyes during his last interview and said the Sydney fighter can’t bag him for fighting Anthony Mundine when he wanted to do the same a couple of years back.
“He came up against a 37-year-old coming off two losses. He can’t talk. He was the one that called out Mundine a year and a half ago and wanted to fight a 44-year-old,” Zerafa said.
“When we come face to face he better look into my eyes because it’s gonna be war. For me this is more than just a fight. This is setting myself and family up for life.
“I’ve built my name with my own two hands. I never had anything given to me. When we come face-to-face he’ll see how serious I am and how I’m not a joke.
“He fought a 37-year-old Dennis Hogan at 26 – when I was 26 I was fighting Kell Brooks in his own backyard going 12 rounds with a former world champion.
“He calls me an ex-girlfriend that won’t go away – I’d be concerned with what’s going on in his personal life he must have girl issues.”
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