Jeff Horn and Tim Tszyu will engage in an all-Oceania showdown on Aug 26, with an expected crowd of 16,000 in Australia’s Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville.
The former WBO welterweight champion Horn (20-2-1, 13 KO) and Tszyu (15-0, 11 KO), the son of Hall of Fame fighter Kostya Tszyu, were originally scheduled to fight April 22 in the same venue before the global pandemic caused by Covid-19 suspended the sport.
"They're very serious and very cocky in the way that they think that they're going to win this fight nice and easy, but he has never fought the opposition I have," said Horn. "He's got relatively little experience in that manner, and the only reason this fight has been made is because his last name is Tszyu … His father was an absolute legend. We wouldn't be fighting him if his last name wasn't his dad's name.
“If he was Tim Smith, he wouldn’t be getting this far because I’d be looking at bigger and better things. The Tszyu name is red hot. His far is an absolute legend, and that’s exactly why this fight is happening.”
Horn, 32, a 2012 Olympian, brings a bevy of experience to the ring compared to the still green and relatively upstart Tszyu, 25.
"I've got ample experience. I've [fought] world champions, Hall of Famers like Manny Pacquiao, Terence Crawford. I might not have got that victory [versus Crawford], but you learn so much from your losses,” said Horn. "[Tszyu is] going to be blown away. There's no way you can't be blown away in a stadium fight — I have every time … This is a momentous occasion. What does he do with that energy? Does he use it, or does it sap away from him? I've used it every single time and I plan on doing that a third time."
Horn put his name on the boxing map following a shocking and highly disputed unanimous decision win versus Manny Pacquiao in 2017 in his backyard of Brisbane, Australia. After losing his title to Crawford in 2018, he went on to fight Michael Zerafa twice last year, losing once via TKO, only to then avenge the loss when he squeaked by with a majority decision win.
Oddsmakers apparently took notice because Horn is surprised by his status in sportsbook circles against the four-year pro Tszyu.
"I'm absolutely shocked at the betting markets at the moment," he said. "I can't believe with what I've done in the past, and for what Tim's done, and when you compare the two, and they're saying that he's definitely going to win … He's the hot favorite for this fight. I'm shocked. I want to put some money on myself.
“I can’t believe I’m that much of an underdog for this fight. But I love being an underdog. It makes me fight to that next level. All these things are in the mix to have me get my biggest victories, and this is going to be one of them. I think this one is a bit of a blowout.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.