TEN years on from their rivalry as amateur prospects, bad blood continues to simmer between Daniel Lewis and Tim Tszyu.
As boxing prepares for an eventual return after the pandemic-caused break, Lewis (6-1, 4 KOs) has dismissed talk of a potential clash with Tszyu or former welterweight titleholder Jeff Horn, citing their lack of profile in the fight capital.
“I’m not really too fussed about fighting either of them,” Lewis told ABC Grandstand.
“I’ll take the fight if it’s there. I’d prefer to direct my career to the American audience. That’s where boxing is, it’s amazing over there. It’s a different league.”
The 26-year-old is among a handful of Australian fighters with contractual ties to promotional firm Top Rank, best known for building mainstream stars including the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao and more recently, Tyson Fury.
For that reason, the former Olympian has one eye on an inevitable stateside return, despite the lure of televised opportunities on Australian soil.
“To get a big fight in Vegas again, a big fight anywhere over there is what I want to do,” he explained.
“I’m ready to fight anyone in Australia. But my direction is to go to America, and that’s what we want to do.
“People already know my name in America, they know the Moloneys (Andrew and Jason), George Kambosos, they know them boys. They don’t really know Tim Tszyu or Jeff Horn.”
Lewis, a former Olympian that represented Australia at the Rio Olympics, last fought in February, dropping a reputable ten-round decision to the towering Sebastian Fundora in Las Vegas.
Since his lone professional blemish, the Londonderry product and proud resident of the Greater Western Sydney area has flagged his intention for an immediate return, having consistently trained during the boxing lockdown — partly due to his unique home facility.
“We were back into it and we ready to train, me and Paul Gallen and my trainer,” he said.
“We were down at the gym and everything was going smooth, next minute we can’t do anything. We’re locked down and can’t train, can’t fight, so I’ve just been still training at home.
“I’ve pretty much got a full gym set up at my house. My grandparents’ old house actually has been transformed into a gym. We’ve got bags, we’ve got a ring, we’ve got everything.
“That’s where I was training, like most of my career, even in the amateurs before I went to the Institute of Sport, I was training here in my grandparents’ old house… all of the gyms are closed, but my gym on my property is still open.
“It’s just been normal for me, I’ve been feeling fit, I’m ready to fight. I feel like I’m ready to fight. The only thing I’ve been lacking is the hand work with my trainer and the sparring.”
Looking back at his first attempt on the world stage, Lewis has adopted a no regrets mentality, citing the magnitude of the platform he competed on.
“Just to be there, it was amazing, a lifelong dream,” he continued.
“It wasn’t the easiest fight. He was huge, he wasn’t anywhere near my height. But we accepted the fight, it was a massive opportunity, everything worked out well in the end. We got good exposure and good experience.
“I’d love to fight in America again, Las Vegas, and take them big fights again. Especially now [and] early in my career, I’ve already lost, my first loss and it doesn’t effect me. I’m ready to go again.”
Like most, Lewis is facing an uncertain wait, with the date of his next fight still unknown. However, Lewis looks forward to supporting his Australian stablemates Andrew and Jason Moloney, who are slated to return as early as next month.
“I’m not too sure what’s next for me,” he concluded.
“The Moloney boys are over in America, which is amazing, I’m so happy for them boys. They’re signed to Top Rank and they’re great guys and I hope they go well.
“The same with me, if we get a call to go to America, I’m ready to go. I’m happy to fight anyone, anywhere, just because it’s lockdown, it doesn’t mean anything. I haven’t stopped training at all.
“I’m still fit and I’m still ready to go. No plans of yet, but we’re keen.”
Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank