THE more that Tim Tszyu develops, the harder it is getting to secure meaningful opponents.
Just two years into his professional career, Tszyu (11-0, 9 KOs) has already progressed to the level where championship fights at a respectable level are fast becoming an option.
The prodigious talent was originally scheduled to face English titleholder Adam Harper for the Commonwealth light middleweight title left vacant by Michael Zerafa.
However, the Englishman withdrew his interest, leaving Tszyu without an opponent and unable to challenge for the prestigious and highly regarded title.
In stepped former Commonwealth welterweight champion Denton Vassell (25-5, 11 KOs), which saved Friday night’s date for Tszyu, but not the title.
“It’s been frustrating because there has been so many fighters pull out,” Tszyu told Aus-Boxing.
“This fight was suppose to be for a Commonwealth title, but I’m just blessed now to have a good opponent. I’m looking at getting the ring rust off, because it feels like I haven’t fought in such a long time.
“It’s just been so long for me to be out of the ring. Usually I am used to fighting back-to-back, so I’ve been able to have a little bit of time off. I’ve had a preparation for this one. I know this guy is going to be tough.”
Vassell, 34, had a credible three-fight reign as Commonwealth champion, which included a decision win over former Australian titleholder Samuel Colomban. However, losses to Frankie Gavin and Sam Eggington highlighted his limitations at European level.
Despite his age, Tszyu expects the toughest fight of his career from the Manchester-based veteran.
“He’s a former Commonwealth champion, which says something,” he said.
“I’m really hoping to be tested and get some rounds in, as my last two opponents I have got them out pretty quick.
“Even though I‘d love to have the fight with Adam Harper, I don’t know if it can be made again. I’m not the one that pulled out of the fight. Someone needs to go speak with him.
“I’d love to fight Harper, I just don’t know if he feels the same way.”
Although Tszyu will now face Vassell for an interim version of the WBA Oceania bauble, also held by the aforementioned Zerafa, Tszyu still harbours ambitions to fight for the Commonwealth title.
“Without a doubt, I still want the Commonwealth title,” he continued.
“It’s a prestigious title and it’s a twelve round fight, which is a stepping-stone to a world title. There are a number of countries involved and it opens the door to opportunities to get exposure in Britain.
“To be honest, there are a number of fighters in the UK that bring some interest to me. There are a number of names that I’d love to fight. Fingers crossed, I hope to get the opportunity to fight for the Commonwealth title in the near future.”
Another short-term goal of Tszyu’s is to not only fight abroad, but to make it in America, where the biggest names in his division are based.
“I really want to get on the big stage and America is where it’s at,” he concluded.
“Everything is a work in progress to that ultimate goal, but experience is obviously a big thing. Just having regular fights helps me gain that experience it’s massive.
“There is no rush and good things take time to develop. I just train hard, stay focused and I know what is in front of me. I know my goals.”
Photo: Louie Abigail/Photography by Rockfingrz