Tim Tszyu signs for Dwight Ritchie on August 14th

THERE was a collective sense of surprise when Tim Tszyu announced his domestic wish-list in March.

Having signed with domestic promotional leader No Limit Boxing, the prodigious talent made his preferred path clear, citing fights with Joel Camilleri, Dwight Ritchie, Michael Zerafa and Jeff Horn.

With the national title and a win over the aforementioned Camilleri secured, Tszyu (13-0, 10 KOs) will embark on his next challenge, signing to face world rated light middleweight Dwight Ritchie (19-1, 2 KOs) in a mouth-watering collision.

Despite having a host of options both domestic and abroad, Tszyu has opted for arguably the most difficult stylistic pairing in Ritchie, who has held state, national and regional titles as a professional.

The duo will meet on August 14th at the revamped Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, for the newly formed WBO Global light middleweight bauble, along with bragging rights to flank Dennis Hogan as Australia’s leading light middleweight.

Ritchie, 27, has been earmarked for success beyond domestic level for some time, reaching regional level with an impressive decision over Hikaru Nishida in Tokyo to lift the OPBF middleweight title in 2016.

However, the Shepparton-based technician lost the respected regional crown in his next fight, suffering his lone career blemish to Koki Tyson in Osaka.

Recent wins over the previously unbeaten Emmanuel Carlos and Joel Camilleri suggest that the Indigenous product is well equipped to challenge Tszyu, in what looms as a litmus test for the 24-year-old, who is fresh off a training camp with eight-division titleholder, Manny Pacquiao.

The card will be bolstered by a slew of domestic talents, including a crossroads meeting between Mateo Tapia and Renold Quinlan, with more announcements to follow.

Photo: Marty Camilleri