“I’m a big fan of the heavyweights, I love lining that up.
“There’s a really high quality undercard already that I’m excited about, but if an opportunity arises for an exciting fight like that, I’d look to slide it on there.
“I love exciting fights, I love heavyweights. If they want to get amongst it, I’d happily entertain the idea.
“If they don’t settle it in game III, I might have to make a spot for them.”
Plenty of footballers have transitioned into the ring in recent years, with varying degrees of success. Anthony Mundine’ boxing career has arguably outstripped his footballing feats, while Sonny Bill Williams and Paul Gallen remain undefeated in the ring. Others should have stuck to football, as evidenced by cameo boxing appearances from the likes of Todd Carney, Chris Sandow and Blake Ferguson.
However, those close to Haas and Fa’asuamaleaui believe the pair can handle themselves with the gloves on and a bout would add interest to a card featuring rising star Tszyu.
“Darcy Lussick is still looking for someone to fight as well, I’m sure he would look to take on the winner,” Rose said.
Tszyu’s fight with Morgan will be the first Sydney stadium fight since 2006, when Mundine first fought Danny Green. The Bankwest bout comes more than two decades after Tszyu’s father, Kostya, claimed the IBF world super lightweight title at the old Parramatta Stadium against Hugo Pineda.
“The good thing about what’s happened in our game over the last couple of decades is that there’s no doubt in eras gone by that things like that would have developed into something pretty horrendous. Thankfully we don’t see that these days.
“If we found, as we have with some other charges, that the penalties are not sufficient, we would review those penalties. But you’d have to say the lack of that kind of behaviour, that we used to see on a regular basis in rugby league, that the disincentives are working.
“I don’t know of anybody, let alone a highly paid NRL player, who would willingly fork over $750 and think it’s OK.”
There have been few instances of fisticuffs since former NRL chief executive Dave Smith introduced a “punch and you’re off” edict following a State of Origin fight between Paul Gallen and Nate Myles in 2013.
Smith stood by that call when contacted by the Herald on Thursday, a decision made to widen the game’s appeal following a comprehensive survey of fans.
“We were trying to grow the game,” Smith said. “It’s a really tough game without people thumping each other.
“The game is bigger and better than that. From memory we had a lot of complaints from schools and things, that kids were mimicking players and fighting on the field. That gets translated into junior footy.
“We were surveying and the data was telling us clearly that the majority of people don’t like it.
“We don’t want to turn people off; we want as many people watching the game as possible. If there’s more people turning off, it’s less money coming into the game and less people playing.
“It was about what we needed to do based on the data we were seeing from a wide base of fans.
“It was around player behaviours, around fighting on the field – lots of things that would allow us to extend our audience. It was part of a broader growth strategy.
“I don’t think it has diminished the game in any way, shape or form.”
Haas and Fa’asuamaleaui came to blows in a schoolboys Origin clash three years ago, but the Brisbane forward described them as “good mates” after the latest stink.
“I just saw red,” Haas said. “It was a bit dumb of me to keep carrying on like that. I should have left it as it was – I just saw red and kept on going.
“It’s out of character for me to lose my cool. I probably put my teammates in a position where they were a bit vulnerable, especially with me coming off and with us only having 12 players. I need to be smarter.”
Haas said he had no idea about the game-day newspaper story that suggested the pair had history and claimed he hadn’t been in a fight since “the under-10s”. Haas remains friends with Fa’asuamaleaui and they were inseparable on the Prime Minister’s XIII tour of Fiji last year.
“I have actually hardly versed him growing up,” Haas said.
“[I haven’t fought on the field] for a long time. My grandma, Soledad, will be getting up me. I will wait for her to see what she says on Messenger. She gets scared of that kind of stuff. I think the last time was under-10s. We were losing. I was being a bad sport.”
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.
Now, only three months later, he has announced his next fight will be against New Zealand’s Bowyn Morgan at Parramatta’s Bankwest Stadium on December 16 as he charts a course to a world title.
Tszyu was first a gymnast, then a footballer, but submitted to a deep call within to move into the boxing ring.
It is in his genes.
Tim is the son of Kostya Tszyu, once an undisputed champion of the world and now a Hall of Famer, but it is his grandfather, he says, that he is closest to.
When he defeated Horn by TKO his performance was enough for close observers of the sport to suggest he had emerged from his father’s shadow.
On all five world rankings, the Super Welterweight/Junior Middleweight is already inside the top 10, with the WBO ranking him number two.
Tszyu was happy with Horn defeat — but not satisfied
He says his drive comes from knowing he is capable of achieving his dreams.
“When you know something you’ve just got to do it,” Tszyu said.
“Everyone wakes up in the morning for a particular reason, some people decide to stay in bed, some people don’t.
“This is why I get up, because I know that I can be the best and each day is the sacrifice of becoming that.”
He admits to being hard on himself, constantly asking those closest to him what he needs to be better.
After defeating Horn by technical knockout some might have expected a celebration of sorts. There was not one.
“I was happy, I was not satisfied,” Tszyu said.
“Once you’re satisfied that means you’re done, you’re too nice on yourself.
“You’ve got to be cruel because you need to be able to wake up and feel that hunger.
“Hunger is the key to success.”
Same intensity in Tszyu’s eyes as in his father’s
Those who knew his father when he first came to Australia to compete at the 1991 World Amateur Championships recognise the same intensity in the younger Tszyu’s eyes.
Back then, after winning a world title, he said he would turn professional almost immediately.
He was asked at the time why not wait another year, as he was a certainty for an Olympic gold medal if he competed at the 1992 Barcelona Games.
“Medals don’t pay bills,” he told the ABC at the time.
When asked to describe what he sees as the similarities between him and his father, Tszyu said:
“But we’re different, we like different things.
“My dad was a real [hardcore] guy, very difficult to be around while I’m the opposite, I think … I’m easier, a bit easier going.
“I’m very caring, I think that’s one of the qualities my mum has given me.”
Tszyu does a casual thousand crunches every day to engage his core
Tszyu trains around four hours a day.
Anyone who has seen his fight preparation in the dressing room would have noticed the 150 or so crunches he does to engage his core before entering the ring.
On a regular training day he does “about a thousand” and credits his tightknit training group for keeping him focused and motivated.
“My trainer and my grandfather, they are two people that put me in line and make me think about reality,” he said.
Boris Tszyu has a watchful eye, never straying far from where his grandson is or what he is doing.
“For example, if it’s someone’s birthday and there’s a piece of chocolate cake he’ll be looking at me to make sure I’m not eating that chocolate cake, he puts me straight,” Tszyu laughs.
“My grandfather is a massive influence in my daily life.”
Asked whether his grandfather treated him the same as he treated his son, Tszyu said it was a bit different.
“A father and son relationship is much different to a grandfather,” he said.
“My dad hasn’t been here for 15 years so I can’t remember what those two were like.
“He’s always there for me no matter what, through the ups, through the downs.
“People only see the ups but let’s just say there’s a lot more downs than ups.
“There are days when you wake up and you’re sore, you’re tired, everything is hurting, you’ve got no energy, you’re hungry, there are days when you are just feeling down … Grandpa is always there.”
Why Tszyu flicks his emotions off in the ring
While there is a deep bond between grandfather and grandson Tszyu says there is no room for emotion inside the ring.
He has learned how to flick it on and off like a switch.
“Once the fight finishes, you’re a different person, you can go back to being a human.”
And will he allow himself to celebrate after his next victory?
“Once I am the best in the world then we can have a celebration and a bit of a relaxing time, focus on new goals and that, but there’s no point celebrating if you haven’t reached there yet.
“You’re climbing up the mountain, you only celebrate once you’re at the top.”
Asked whether his father was with him in that mental image of being on top of the mountain, Tszyu said: “I’m not competing with Dad.”
“If I can do 50 per cent of what my dad did in his career, I’ll be climbing three mountains,” he added.
“He’s the pinnacle of not just boxing but sport, in Australia, in Russia, in the world … he’s a Hall of Famer.”
There is another similarity between father and son, the love of two countries.
“Look, I’ve got a lot of Russian in me — my culture, my grandfather and everything around my house was always Russian, I was born and bred in Australia but on the inside I’m Russian so for me it’s got a special place in my heart.
“Culture is very important, tradition and all of that.
“I feel like I’ve got a responsibility for the Russian people as well because look, I am Russian, I’m just an Aussie-born Russian.”
“All parties are very interested in making this fight happen – Teixeira’s promoters (Golden Boy Promotions) want to see him back in the ring defending his belt as soon as possible and the WBO is obviously in the business of keeping their champions active,” Tszyu’s promoter Matt Rose said to Ben Damon .
“There’s a few hurdles to get over but it’s looking good and it could all happen very quickly, plus it helps that the world just saw a big crowd at our event in Townsville.”
A contest between Teixeira and Castano was set to take place before the coronavirus pandemic hit.
The WBO decision is expected to drop before the end of the week with No Limit Boxing CEO George Rose confident they’ll be able to get all necessary work done in order for the bout to take place this year.
“We have a lot of interest from Sydney, Queensland and Perth about hosting what would be a ‘once in a lifetime’ event. If we can get the fight done then we will work with the governments to ensure we can safely get Teixeira into the country,” he said.
The 25-year-old Tszyu took his professional record to 16-0 with 12 of his victories coming via knockout.
Brazilian Teixeira, 29, holds a 31-1 record with 22 knockout wins to his name with the southpaw holding significant advantages over Tszyu in both height (+8cm) and reach (+11cm).
Talk shifted quickly to opportunities to fight for a world title but, at 25, he should be in no hurry. For now, Tszyu can be satisfied for having put down the kind of performance that established him as an elite fighter in his own right, not the son of a legend who was given a rails run to opportunities others felt they deserved first.
“People will always compare me to my dad and what he did was truly out of this world. He was an undisputed world champion for 10 years,” Tszyu said.
“For someone to do that is beyond crazy. I will always float around as the son of Kostya, but I wanted to say this is Tim Tszyu who beat Jeff Horn and it wasn’t the son, it wasn’t because of my last name. It was purely the fact I trained hard and got the victory.
“Hopefully I introduced myself with that performance.”
Tszyu was so fit and strong he looked like he could have beat up Horn for another eight rounds before showing any signs of fatigue. Horn had felt his strength and experience would go a long way to winning the fight but Tszyu never let him in once, dominating every round, dropping him in the third and sixth and finally winning after the eighth.
“Straight from round one, once he got tired I felt he was going downhill. I knocked him down twice, my fitness was on another level and I felt it,” Tszyu said.
“What won in this fight was of course my physicality and strength, it wasn’t my boxing skills, it was my fitness and how conditioned I was and that was because of the prep I did. If you put in the work, you get results.”
Tszyu’s promoter Matt Rose said the fight showed Tszyu was now the premier Australian fighter and the world was just put on notice. The fight was beamed into the US on ESPN and Rose can expect his phone to be ringing in the aftermath.
“He is the new face of Australian boxing and he is our next superstar. You beat a guy like Jeff Horn who is an absolute warrior. We are talking about a guy who has beaten Manny Pacquaio,” Rose said.
“You saw the Jeff Horn that turned up, he was ready to fight and we know where Tim Tszyu stands in Australia, but look out the world, he is coming.”
Horn was gracious and respectful in defeat and there will be some scrutiny of the stoppage, with his trainer Glenn Rushton saying he and Jeff’s brother Ben were thinking of giving him a minute in the ninth to find a miracle punch before a consensus call from the corner, in conjunction with referee Phil Austin, put a stop to the pounding.
Jeff Fenech, who is a long-time critic of Rushton, would lash the trainer for even contemplating fighting on but Rushton said he had no intention of letting Horn get hurt.
“We told Jeff ‘You have to show us something’. Jeff was saying ‘I want to keep going’. Ben (Horn) and I were saying to give him one minute in round nine to see if he can land a big shot,” Rushton said.
“Phil just came over and called it and said he wanted to stop the fight. If I had been in Phil’s position, I would have been very close to calling it. I have no qualms about the referee’s decision.”
For Horn, the call was met with relief. With the fight extremely lopsided, there was no need for him to go out on a stretcher instead of his shield.
“The first thing that goes through your head was relief. I’m never going to throw in the towel, never going to say I’ve had enough. It was more of a relief than anything, that the referee was saying he’d seen enough. I was like, ‘Alright’,” Horn said.
He will go home to wife Jo and his two daughters and decide his next move but he should retire. He has nothing left to prove and has provided a wonderful boost for the sport with his win over Pacquiao. He and Tszyu would not have been fighting in a stadium if that hadn’t transpired.
Rushton said he would back any decision Horn made while his promoter Dean Lonergan was more forthright. The ride had been incredible, he said, but it should now come to an end.
“Right now, if Jeff was going to ask me what should I do now, I’d say ‘Mate, you’ve made a lot of money out of this sport, had a hell of a ride, achieved everything you wanted to achieve, now it’s time to look after your family and look after your health’,” Lonergan said.
“My ambitions for Jeff Horn were to go out healthy and wealthy and right now I think he can achieve both those things. He’s going to have his dad and wife have a serious chat to him and they can look in the mirror and say ‘We had a hell of a ride’.”
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At the very last gasp, Tim Tszyu’s camp finally blinked.
The squabble surrounding whether Tim Tszyu or Jeff Horn would be forced to walk out first was finally been solved with Tszyu’s camp agreeing to bite the bullet and make the walk to the ring inside Queensland Country Bank Stadium first ahead of their Townsville showdown.
The news was finally delivered at 8.55pm (AEST) with less than 35 minutes before the fight’s scheduled start time that Tszyu would be walking out first.
Tszyu’s manager Matt Rose was the one that had to deliver the news that his camp had finally thrown in the towel.
He said Horn’s camp and his promoter Dean Lonergan had reneged on an agreement at the last second.
“We had an agreement in place me and Dean,” he said.
“They turned up on the night and they agreed Tim would walk out second and Jeff would walk out first. And then in the last hour or so they’ve changed their minds and they’ve said they’re not going to come out.”
Even that wasn’t the end of the farcical drama.
When it came time for Tszyu to begin his scheduled walk-out the fighter instead showed no interest in walking out when he was supposed to — perhaps another late stalling tactic to cause Horn some discomfort.
Announcer James O’Shea had to introduce Tszyu three times before he finally started his walk-out more than 10 minutes after he was first called to the ring.
It left Horn delayed in his own dressing room but the display won Tszyu few fans among Aussie boxing commentators.
“This refusal to walk out business is embarrassing for all involved,” Queensland sports reporter Mark Gotlieb wrote on Twitter.
“Just call the fight off. Everyone go home. What a joke.”
Former sports journalist Todd Balym wrote: “This sort of BS carry on by both camps does nothing for the sport. Makes the fighters look petulant”.
While rising star Tszyu brushed off questions about the walk-ins in Monday’s press conference, his camp betrayed the 25-year-old’s brash response by admitting they don’t want Tszyu to have to wait in the ring for Horn to walk out as the main spectacle.
Horn said: “I do think I probably deserve to walk out second to Tim.
“I’ve won the belts that are sitting in front of him before. I’ve won better belts than what he’s got.”
Tszyu’s agent Matt Rose fired back at the press conference: “I think the answer to that (who is walking out second) is we’re coming out second. We discussed that the other day. I don’t know what antics Dean’s [Lonergan] up to again.”
Fight promoter Lonergan also refused to take a step back.
“Jeff’s coming out second,” he said. “So long as Jeff comes out second, we’re all good.”
Australia has a new boxing king with Tim Tszyu pulverising Jeff Horn in their super welterweight showdown.
In pre-fight build up it was made clear the winner of the all-Aussie brawl was immediately going to become the next WBO world title mandatory challenger for Patrick Texeira’s world championship belt — and the sheer class of Tszyu showed that he is ready for the step up to the top of the boxing world.
He outclassed Horn from the outset, winning every single round while calmly continuing his dominance in the later rounds when it became clear Horn was just holding on.
In the end the killer blows arrived in the eighth round.
Here’s how the carnage played out.
Tszyu tried to keep Horn at a distance but the Queenslander was intent on pushing forward, landing a left hand before Tszyu clipped him on the side of the head.
The youngster landed a couple of nice punches halfway through the round as his right hand made some sweet connections, while Horn was warned off attacking the back of the head.
Tszyu looking very composed while Horn is more frantic.
Tim Tszyu again enjoyed the better of the exchanges, landing jabs at will.
The referee also cautioned Horn about his wrestling tactics by holding onto Tszyu’s back.
The referee said: “All I’ve seen from you so far is wrestling. Knock this c**p off.”
Tszyu knocked Horn to the canvas multiple times in the third round as he caused an enormous amount of pain with his right hand.
Horn was in serious trouble as the young gun took complete control.
A left uppercut knocked Horn down late in the round before he was saved by the bell.
Tszyu continued to pile on the pain, walking forward and looking to finish the job.
Some powerful right hands and an uppercut made Horn’s life miserable and he was holding on for dear life.
It was all one-way traffic. Tszyu was cool as a cucumber while Horn was gassed.
“An unbelievable performance from Tim Tszyu so far,” commentator Ben Damon said.
Horn was trying everything he could to slow things down but nothing was stopping Tszyu.
He was putting on a masterclass, landing some brutal body blows that rattled the elder statesman.
Tszyu just missed with an uppercut early but he floored Horn 40 seconds before the bell.
The fight looks like a complete mismatch.
The plaudits kept coming for Tszyu in the seventh.
He was cruising towards victory, knowing victory was within reach and just picking Horn off every chance he got.
“We’re watching the arrival of a star in Australian boxing, and in global boxing,” commentator Ben Damon said.
“They knew (his dad) Kostya Tszyu. Well, with the quality of this performance, what can Tim Tszyu do?
“This is world-class boxing.”
It was more of the same as Tszyu kept targeting the body.
Horn’s camp stopped the fight at the end of the round.
Tim Tszyu defeated Jeff Horn via eighth round stoppage
Issac Hardman defeated Jamie Weetch via first round stoppage
Liam Wilson defeats Jackson Woods via second round stoppage
Shannon O‘Connell defeated Kylie Fulmer via seventh-round stoppage
Joel Camilleri defeated Adam Copland via unanimous decision (79-73 x 2, 78-73)
Ben Horn defeated Patrick Clark via unanimous decision (40-36 x 2, 39-37)
Jessica Cashman defeated Linn Sandstrom via unanimous decision (40-37, 39-37 x 2)
Vegas Larfiel defeated Ricky Hunt via first-round stoppage