By Allan Fox: Junior middleweight contender Tim Tszyu will face replacement opponent Steve Spark (12-1, 11 KOs) on July 7th after Michael Zerafa pulled out of the fight this week. Tszyu vs. Spark will be meeting in a 10 round fight at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Newcastle.
While Australians are disappointed that the grudge match between Tszyu and Zerafa is off, boxing fans worldwide are happy to see Tim back in action.
Tszyu was looking forward to fighting Zerafa because it would have attracted much attention from boxing fans. But the option is always there for Tszyu to fight him later on down the line.
In the direction Tszyu is heading in with his career, he’s not likely to face Zerafa because he’s heading towards world title honors.
Many of the boxing fans who know of Zerafa remember seeing him lose to Peter Quillin by a fifth round knockout in 2015 and by past his prime Kell Brook in a 12 round decision defeat in 2018. Although Zerafa gave Book some problems, he still lost the fight.
No Limit Boxing CEO George Rose isn’t surprised that Zerafa pulled out of the fight with Tszyu, saying, “We knew from the moment he looked Tim in the eyes at the press conference and went quiet that he never wanted this fight. I knew it. Tim knew it. Australia knew it.
“He never wanted this fight, and all I can say is I’m sorry for everyone who has wanted this fight for so long.”
Like Zerafa, Spark, 24, isn’t well known outside of Australia, so he’s just a good of an opponent.
Spark is coming off of an eight round decision over Jack Brubaker last April. This is the same Brubaker that Tszyu destroyed in four rounds in December 2019.
Worldwide boxing fans want to see Tszyu challenge for a world title against IBF/WBA/WBC 154-lb champion Jermell Charlo or WBO champ Brian Castano. However, Charlo recently said that he wouldn’t be fighting Tszyu. Charlo sounded negative about the idea of fighting Tszyu for some reason.
It’s unclear how Jermell will be able to avoid Tszyu once he becomes mandatory for one of his belts, but perhaps he’ll vacate rather than fight him.
Tszyu is ranked #1 WBO, #3 IBF, #3 WBC 154, which puts him in a position to challenge the winner of the July 17th fight between Jermell and WBO champion Brian Castano.
In Tszyu’s last five contests, he’s beaten these fighters:
- Dennis Hogan – TKO 5
- Bowyn Morgan – TKO 1
- Jeff Horn – TKO 8
- Jeff Brubaker – TKO 4
- Dwight Ritchie – UD 10
“Credit to Steve for taking this fight,” Tszyu said. “He’s a dangerous fighter with a lot of power. I’ve seen it for myself. I was ringside at the fight in Wollongong when he hammered Jack Brubaker and saw how well he did under the bright lights.”
“He has power, stamina, and keeps the pressure on. I know he’s coming to hit and hit hard. I’m expecting that and much more next Wednesday night. It’s going to be a great fight.