Jeff Horn thinks Tim Tszyu’s team has got greedy, but the son of former undisputed world champion Kostya insists he boasts the boxing smarts to win the super-welterweight clash in Townsville on Aug 26.
Tszyu is unbeaten in 15 fights and will start favourite against the former World Boxing Organisation (WBO) welterweight champion, who has dropped down from middleweight to take on the 25-year-old.
Horn (20 wins, two losses, one draw) has beaten Manny Pacquiao and Anthony Mundine in front of huge Suncorp Stadium crowds, while Wednesday’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium clash is Tszyu’s first big arena experience.
But the Queenslander’s two losses have come in his last four fights—against outstanding unbeaten American Terence Crawford—followed by a shock loss to Melbourne Michael Zerafa who was subsequently outpointed in a rematch last December.
Tszyu has been in regular touch with his father—now based in his Russian homeland—and says the message is clear.
“Me and dad always talk, especially 24 hours before a fight,” Tim said.
“Jeff’s the typical Aussie fighter; comes in rushing, makes plenty of mistakes.
“I’ve got a different boxing brain, so hopefully we can capitalise on that.”
Horn bounced back well to beat Zerafa in his last fight and feels comfortable at a lighter weight against his classy, but less-experienced opponent.
“I do believe Tim Tszyu has got world champion ability, but this might be a step too much in this fight,” Horn said.
“Good on him for taking this fight, but it might be a little speed bump
“I think his management are probably excited about getting this fight on because I think they’re taking a cut of his purse.”
Harmless byplay like that had dominated the lead-up to the fight until Horn’s coach Glenn Rushton raised concerns of judge bias in a chaotic weigh-in press conference on Aug. 25.
Rushton was unnerved by reports judge Phil Holiday told friends Horn would be vulnerable to cuts to the skin around his eyes.
He also raised concerns about the fact another judge Chris Condon was a close associate during Kostya’s career and runs the gym Tszyu has been using while in Townsville.
His accusations angered the Tszyu camp but were corroborated by chief judge Derek Milham, who said Holiday was embarrassed to admit his mistake.
However, all three judges will remain on duty for Wednesday night’s bout, despite global chairman of co-sanctioning body WBO Danny Leigh issuing a warning to the trio.
“I’m very aware of the situation and they know their careers are on the line,” he said.
“If they do the wrong thing, the whole world is watching this.”
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