The build-up is intensifying ahead of Tim Tszyu’s fight for undisputed glory.
Tszyu has travelled to the United States to prepare for his bout with Jermell Charlo in Las Vegas on January 29 (Jan. 28 in the U.S.) with all the belts in the super-welterweight division on the line.
The festive season may be in full swing, but the 28-year-old has only one focus at the moment.
MORE: Tim Tszyu punching above his weight to prepare for Jermell Charlo
“It’s been a long time in the making for me. I’ve been chasing this,” Tszyu said in a press conference on Tuesday, local time.
“I’m glad it’s finally come and I’m excited to get this opportunity.
“It doesn’t matter [that Christmas is soon] – there’s one task in mind. One thing. I came to America three weeks ago [with] a purpose.
“My plan is for victory, so I’ve come here to adapt a bit earlier, and I’ll be 100 per cent ready.”
Last week it was confirmed that Tszyu would be challenging Charlo for the title at the Michelob Ultra Arena at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Remarkably, the fight date of January 28 will mark exactly 27 years since the day his father Kostya won his first world title.
That bout took place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, just over two kilometres from the Mandalay Bay venue.
But that’s not to say the family doesn’t have history at Mandalay Bay – Kostya won the WBA title over Sharmba Mitchell and defended his belts against Ben Tackie at that very arena.
Whilst he carries his Dad’s surname and history, Tim wants to prove that his own personal work ethic is enough to win the fight.
“When I got first told about the date, I sort of didn’t realise [it was the same date and city],” he said.
“I don’t usually believe in fate. I think destiny and fate is something that you have to work for.
“But, you know, I feel like it doesn’t matter about the bloodline. It’s what you put into it.
“I’ve been eyeing this fight out for maybe two years now. It’s been in the back of my mind. I’ve been looking, studying, obsessing over it … this is the fight that I want.
“This is the test that I need in my career – I don’t need some young world champion. I need someone that’s out there as the best.”
Charlo interrupted to make it clear that he’s the undisputed champion and the toughest possible match-up for Tszyu.
The Australian responded by showing respect to his upcoming opponent.
“A lot of fighters get to pick and choose one world title,” he replied.
“But I’m telling you, you’re the man, bro. I respect that.”
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With all the talk about the Tszyu family pedigree, Charlo made sure to reference his father, who also had a career as a boxer.
“I grew up fighting my whole life. You’re all talking about his daddy and all of this stuff. My dad was a whole boxing killer himself in and out of the ring,” Charlo said.
“So what I possess is just undeniable.”
Charlo then went on to credit his mentality to the lack of respect he feels he receives heading into each fight, despite his formidable 35-1-1 record.
“I’m different from anybody that’s in that top half of the pile,” he said.
“I don’t get the respect I deserve. And I keep that energy.
“I float the whole way through this without getting the respect that I deserve. That’s why I’m still in this game.”
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