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Tim Tszyu looking for first professional belt, Australian title honours

Tim Tszyu looking for first professional belt, Australian title honours

MOST fighters wouldn’t be looking to compete in a ten round fought in just their seventh professional outing. But most fighters aren’t Tim Tszyu.

The prodigiously talented Tszyu (6-0, 5 KOs) will move down in weight to face rugged spoiler Wade Ryan (14-5, 3 KOs) for his first professional title on Sunday afternoon as part of the stacked Johnny Lewis Ultimate Fight Night at a revamped Star Casino in Sydney.

With six fights already under his belt, Tszyu is looking to emulate the iconic feats of his legendary father Kostya, who captured a world title after just fourteen professional fights. But as Tszyu admits, activity is essential at this part of his fledgling professional career.

“It’s been a very successful year that’s for sure,” said Tszyu to Aus-Boxing. “By the years end – I’m hoping to have had eight fights – not many boxers are able to do that. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have been able to fight all around Australia and also in New Zealand, it’s been good.”

“What’s the point of resting up? If I’m feeling fit and healthy and feel I’m progressing, I’ll continue to train and fight.”

“Boxing isn’t just a training camp; it’s a lifestyle. You have got to live it. You have got to make the most of it. My main thing has just been to improve with each fight. I feel there has been a fair bit of pressure on me just starting out in my rookie year. I feel I have taken it on well.”

“I feel in myself that I am just getting better and better. You have to be your hardest critic,” he continued. “But I feel like everything has gone to plan. This time last year I was sparring only six rounds, twelve months later I’m sparring twelve rounds and I feel as though I am doing it quite easy.”

In Australia, only a select few can classify themselves as a professional fighter on a full-time basis. Thankfully for Tszyu – he is one of them – and with that privilege comes the perceived burden of living the lifestyle of a professional athlete. To Tszyu, this is something that comes relatively easy.

“I love the whole feeling about knowing there is a fight coming up, it gets me going and I just love the preparation,” he explained. “After the fight and after a win, everything is off your shoulders, it’s such a good release. But you feel empty if there is no fight planned after that, what’s next?”

“I feel I need to be two steps ahead of what I am doing. I feel this fight coming up with Wade will give me a few more rounds to test myself. My longest fight to date has only gone six rounds – the first three rounds I only feel like things are actually warming up – the next lot of rounds is where you really start to get going.”

Despite being relatively untested as a professional, the 22-year-old Sydney resident is optimistic that his next fight proves to be his toughest yet. Ryan (14-5, 3 KOs) carries a reputation as a solid competitor that was only one scorecard away from winning the Australian middleweight title.

Further to this, the Gunnedah native has only one stoppage defeat, which was more than four years ago. In that way, Tszyu should be afforded the rounds he desperately seeks as he experiments with both the ten round distance and his debut appearance at light middleweight.

“Hopefully this last a bit longer, I want to be tested,” Tszyu stated. “Every fight is a challenge – no fighter comes to lose a fight – and every fighter comes to win. I feel as though my boxing skills have improved and I feel my boxing skills over my past lot of opponents have been on another level.”

“This will be my first fight at light middleweight, it’s the weight that I will be more comfortable at.”

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“I had no problems at all at middleweight but I was just walking around at that weight,” he added. “Middleweight is the perfect weight where I can have a two-month preparation and be able to feel good. For me, middleweight was where I wanted to do my apprenticeship and get in as many fights as I could.”

“This fight with Wade Ryan is ten rounds and I’ve have had a much longer preparation. I’ve had ten weeks to prepare myself and the whole intensity of camp has become different. I can’t explain how excited I am for this fight and opportunity. I’ve been working with guys that have been pushing me, such as Trent Broadhurst.”

If Sunday afternoon goes to script, Tim Tszyu will lift a WBC affiliated regional bauble after less than twelve months as a professional. However, like most before him, Tszyu has aspirations to fight for and win the national title before opening the chapter in his professional career.

“At light middleweight, there is the Australian title which I definitely want,” he concluded. “I haven’t really paid too much attention to who is up in there in the rankings. I can say I’m one hundred percent looking to fight for the title.”

For more information about the Johnny Lewis Ultimate Fight Night, please see here

Photo: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images

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