THE Tim Tszyu show returns to Newcastle after an incredibly successful first-time effort.
On this occasion, the world rated Tszyu (18-0, 14 KOs) will meet fan favourite Stevie Spark (12-1, 11 KOs), following the late withdrawal of long-time rival Michael Zerafa.
We spoke to a slew of industry experts to get their opinion on the Commonwealth title clash from the Tszyucastle Entertainment Centre.
Issac Hardman, Australian middleweight champion:
Tszyu TKO5 Spark: When two great boxers meet, weight and size will play a part.
I feel like Steve can beat them all in his division, but I believe Tim will be too big and physical. I hope Steve goes out and fights the house down.
He’s already loved by the whole of Australia for stepping up but it’ll finish in five rounds, Tim’s way.
Paul Fleming, undefeated former Olympian:
Tszyu TKO Spark: I’m a fan of Stevie, but I think Tim will be too big and too strong.
Jack Brubaker, mutual opponent of Tszyu and Spark:
Tszyu TKO5 Spark: It’ll have a high pace from the opening bell, with Tim having something to prove and Stevie with nothing to lose.
It should be competitive for three rounds, until Tim’s pressure and size overwhelms Stevie. Stoppage from Tim in five rounds.
Matt Clark, manager/matchmaker:
Tszyu TKO6 Spark: Really looking forward to the fight. Full credit to Stevie for stepping in at short notice.
I think he will be outgunned here by Tszyu who is going to be the bigger man inside the ropes. Tszyu by stoppage in the sixth.
Ebanie Bridges, former world title challenger:
Tszyu TKO8 Spark: I think it is very courageous of spark to step up two weight classes and challenge himself with arguably one of Australia’s most talented boxers of recent times with one weeks’ notice.
But I think Tim Tszyu is something very special. His timing accuracy and ability to neutralise anything his opponent will bring into that ring is again what will see him to victory. I would be surprised if Spark get past the eighth round, and if he does the guy deserves even more respect than he already is getting.
I think Spark will stand his ground, and put up a tough fight for the first few rounds, to try and get some respect. But Tim gives no one respect and will break him down.
Jayde Mitchell, former world rated super middleweight:
Tszyu TKO8 Spark: The only person who can lose tonight is Tim. I think Spark has won regardless of the outcome tonight.
Spark has saved the show, and now the spotlight has shone on him and everyone can see what a great guy he is. I really feel like Tim can’t be beaten in Australia right now.
Tim wins this fight via late rounds stoppage as Stevie is coming up two divisions, but has an incredible future.
Darragh Foley, former world rated light welterweight:
Spark KO1 Tszyu: Spark has already cleared out both the 140 and 147-pound divisions in his head, I mean Australia. I’ve no doubt the 154 pound division will be next to fall.
Luke Jackson, former world title challenger:
Tszyu TKO5 Spark: Big respect to Spark for stepping in on a weeks’ notice and I think he has a massive future.
But Tim is improving with every fight, and I see him as a future world champion. Once Tim finds his range, I think he wins in five rounds.
Marcos Amado, trainer/manager:
Tszyu TKO4 Spark: Hats off to Stevie for stepping up on extremely late notice. He’s jumping up in weight, not to mention against the hottest prospect in Australian boxing. What a legend.
We need more athletes that back themselves at all cost. Unfortunately, I think Tszyu wins by stoppage within four rounds.
Ben Savva, trainer/manager:
Tszyu TKO5 Spark: The fact Spark is fighting two divisions north of his usual weigh, and the fact that Tim is Australia’s best boxer right now, leaves little room to predict anything other than a Tszyu knockout.
The lateral movement of Spark might cause problems for a round or two, but he won’t have the conditioning to keep it up for long. I see Tim getting it done inside five rounds if I’m honest.
Justin Fitzgerald, trainer:
Tszyu TKO6 Spark: As much as the story of Stevie Spark has become a feel good one, and a bright future for him too, it’s too hard to pick against Tim Tszyu.
I think Tim will be too clinical. He will adjust to the new opponent and possibly get a mid-to-late stoppage.
Trent Broadhurst, former world title challenger:
Tszyu TKO Spark: Tszyu is on a roll at the moment. He’s improving every fight and as I’ve said before, he’s timing, speed and accuracy is dangerous. I think this will be the difference, you can’t knock spark though.
He’s got balls of steel, and is a really good guy who can whack, but taking that power up to light middleweight will be tough.
In saying that, if he can land a clean shot it may get interesting. I wish him all the best.
Andrew Moloney, former WBA super flyweight champion:
Tszyu TKO8 Spark: Massive respect for Spark stepping in on a weeks’ notice and also fighting two divisions above his were he usually campaigns.
With the lack of notice, and against a bigger man, I expect Spark to run out of gas and be broken down around midway into the fight. I’m expecting a Tszyu win by stoppage.
Billel Dib, world rated super featherweight:
Tszyu W Spark: Tszyu is on a confidence high and looks better and better each time he’s out.
I think Spark is really talented and strong but he’s really a light welterweight. I think Tim is too strong at this weight for Spark. Respect to both guys.
Will Tomlinson, former IBO super featherweight champion:
Spark TKO6 Tszyu: It’s going to be a tough ask for Steve, but I really hope he can cause the upset.
I think it would be an amazing underdog story! It’s a tough ask, but Stevie is a tough boy. Something tells me he wins tonight, and I don’t know why.
Tony Tolj, promoter/manager/advisor:
Tszyu TKO6 Spark: Stevie is a warrior, so he’s going to come to fight. He’ll be brave like the viking warrior he is.
It’ll be action packed early, but there are weight divisions in boxing for a reason, and the size will be a factor. Tim will showcase his class once again and win by stoppage in the middle rounds
Photo: Darren Burns