Tim Tszyu wants Danny Garcia or Liam Smith after stopping Steve Spark
By Dan Ambrose: #1 WBO 154-lb contender Tim Tszyu (19-0, 15 KOs) immediately called out Danny Garcia, Liam Smith, and Magomed Kurbanov after halting sub Steve Spark (12-2, 11 KOs) in the third round on Wednesday night at the Newcastle Entertainment in Newcastle, Australia.
Tszyu hurt Spark late in the second round, and his team then accidentally knocked out over an ice bucket which looked like a move to give him more time to recover in between rounds.
However, Tszyu went out and made easy work of the 24-year-old Spark in round three, knocking him down twice with shots to the breadbasket to get a knockout.
The 26-year-old Tszyu, the son of boxing great Kostya Tszyu, won the vacant Commonwealth junior middleweight title with the victory over Spark.
Tszyu now is targeting former two-division world champion Danny Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs), who is moving up to 154 and hasn’t yet fought in the division as of yet.
Danny Garcia, 33, isn’t the ideal opponent for Tszyu to fight, though, as he’s coming off a loss to IBF/WBC welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr last December. Danny has already been offered a title shot by Jermell Charlo.
If Charlo wins his July 17th unification fight against WBO 154-lb champion Brian Castano, he’s offered Danny Garcia a title shot.
Unless Tsyzu’s management can offer Danny more money than what he can get fighting Charlo on pay-per-view, it’s unlikely that he’ll agree to the match.
With that said, Garcia would be a step up from the guys Tszyu has faced during his five-year professional career.
The best name on Tszyu’s resume is Jeff Horn, a fighter that gained a measure of fame by beating Manny Pacquiao by a highly controversial 12 round decision in 2017 in Brisbane, Australia. Terence Crawford and Michael Zerafa have since beaten Horn in addition to Tszyu.
#2 WBO Kurbanov (22-0, 13 KOs) is another name Tszyu is interested in fighting.
The 25-year-old ‘Black Lion’ Kurbanov is coming off a narrow 12 round unanimous decision over former WBO 154-lb champion Liam Smith last May in Russia. It wasn’t a great performance by Kurbanov, but he did enough to edge the 32-year-old Smith.
“I’ve got one objective in my mind, to take whomever out that’s in front of me,” said Tszyu at the post-fight press conference on Wednesday night.
“I’ve got all respect to Stevie Spark. But this is my ring, this is my division, and I’m here to stay.”
“There’s Liam Smith, Kurbanov, and Danny Garcia; they’re the three guys I’m going for,” Tszyu said about his next fight. “So if you’re watching, boys, I’m coming for you.”
Most boxing fans would agree that it’s pointless for Tszyu for him to fight Liam Smith next. Fighting Smith makes about as much sense as Tszyu taking on the recently beaten Danny Garcia.
But when you’re still fighting guys like Steve Spark and the best name on your resume is Jeff Horn, it doesn’t matter if Danny Garcia and Liam Smith are both coming off losses. They’re at least recognizable names to the hardcore boxing world in Australia.
If Tszyu wanted to the boxing world, he’d aim a little higher by targeting Erickson Lubin, Sebastian Fundora, Israil Madrimov, or Erislandy Lara. At least those guys aren’t coming off losses like Danny and Liam, and they’re probably better known than Kurbanov.
“I took this fight on seven days’ notice, I stepped up two weight classes,” Spark said afterward.
“The hype is real; Tim’s a quality opponent. He’s a future world champion.”
It’s a bit early to say that Tszyu is a future world champion, but given how young he is and how watered down the 154-lb division is with all the titles, he could win one eventually.
As easy as Spark was hitting Tszyu tonight, it would be a terrible idea to let him fight IBF/WBA/WBC 154-lb champion Jermell Charlo.
Even 38-year-old WBA ‘regular’ champion Erislandy Lara would be too much for Tszyu right now. Tszyu’s problem is that the opposition he’s been fighting during his career is light years away from the top guys in the 154-lb division.
Danny Garcia might be too big of a step up for Tszyu right now because he can punch, and he won’t be stopped by body shots the way that the pedestrian-level Spark was tonight.
We know Tszyu can dish it out, but he might not be able to take it. His face was marked up pretty bad for a fighter facing an opponent who came up two weight classes for the clash.
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