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Tim Tszyu: “Every Next Fight Is The Hardest Fight”

By: Sean Crose

Things have most distinctly not gone as planned for Tim Tszyu. The Australian fighter was supposed to face undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo for all the figurative marbles when the one and only Canelo Alvarez picked Charlo to be his next opponent. No more Charlo fight. No more chance at an undisputed title. That doesn’t mean, however, that Tszyu plans on letting the sport past him by. This Saturday, the 23-0 fighter will be taking on the 22-2 Brian Mendoza in his native Australia.

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The fight might seem like a tuneup – but it is far from that. Besting Mendoza is no small thing. This is a fighter, after all, who has 16 of 22 victories by way of knockout. What’s more, Mendoza’s last performance saw him knock out the highly regarded Sebastian Fondura in 7. He may be the underdog entering the ring on Saturday night, but if Mendoza pulls off the upset, don’t expect too many people to shocked. Indeed, Tszyu himself has made it clear that Mendoza is not an opponent to be taken lightly. Then again, Tszyu doesn’t believe any opponent should be taken lightly. “Every next fight,” he says, “is the hardest fight.”

Tszyu certainly knows there’s a lot on the line for him this weekend, especially with a confident Mendoza questioning his power. “Wait until he feels it,” Tszyu says in response. “I don’t like to talk too much. I show it.” With that in mind, Tszyu isn’t afraid to talk about the fact 2023 has so far been disappointing of him. “Not satisfied at all,” he says. “You know how it is.” Still, Tszyu knows he has to keep moving forward, keep challenging himself. In order to further his career, he’s even willing to have this be his last fight in Australia. “It’s the last hooray,” he says. “This is the last one.”

Tszyu, for those who don’t know, is something of boxing royalty. His father, Kostya won and held numerous world titles at light welterweight throughout the course of his career. What’s more, Tszyu’s younger brother Nikita has also joined the family business, thus far having earned himself a 6-0 record. It won’t be family legacy, titles, or even fights abroad that occupy Tszyu’s mind on fight night, however. The focus will be on the dangerous Mendoza, a man who can make a disappointing year even more disappointing for Tszyu.

“We keep turning it up,” Tszyu says, “keep putting it on, keep creating these memories and keep doing what I’m doing.”

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