Tim Tszyu and his team anxiously await the arrival of Michael Zerafa ahead of their still-scheduled grudge match.

Team Zerafa has threatened to withdraw from the planned July 7 Pay-Per-View headliner amidst a recent spike in coronavirus cases in Australia. The worrying trend comes ahead of the all-Australia junior middleweight showdown at Newcastle Entertainment Centre in Newcastle, Australia.

At least one side of the equation doesn’t seem too concerned over the development.

“As far as we are concerned, it’s business as usual,” Glen Jennings, Tszyu’s manager told BoxingScene.com. “Full steam ahead. Newcastle is not in lockdown, nor is Melbourne (Zerafa’s hometown). So, we see no reason for the fight not to proceed.”

The bout was first announced May 5, less than two months after both boxers scored knockout wins in separate bouts this past March.

Tszyu (18-0, 14KOs)—a second-generation contender and son of Hall of Fame former lineal junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu—continued his ascension following a fifth-round stoppage of former title challenger Dennis Hogan on March 30. The bout also at Newcastle Entertainment Centre which has since been dubbed ‘TszyuCastle.’

Less than three weeks prior, Zerafa (28-4, 17KOs) returned to the win column with a first-round knockout of faded legend Anthony Mundine. Their March 13 bout marked Zerafa’s first fight since the pandemic, having previously split two fights with countryman and former welterweight titlist Jeff Horn in 2019.

No love has been lost between Tszyu and Zerafa. The tension was evident at their May 5 press conference to announce the fight and with growing hostility in the buildup to the fight.

It took a personal turn during a recent segment with an Australian news outlet, where Zerafa opted to don the moniker ‘Micky Hatton’—a tribute to Ricky Hatton, who sent Kostya Tszyu into retirement following an eleventh-round technical knockout win to claim the 140-pound crown in June 2005. Tim Tszyu was just ten years old at the time, though the loss admittedly stayed with him for months as he recently revealed on the Main Event Boxing Podcast that he felt “alone for five or six months. I couldn’t find any motivation to fight.”

Zerafa has provided plenty of motivation for Tszyu to put his best foot forward next Wednesday. The least that the unbeaten contender can expect in return, is for his opponent to have the decency to show up after weeks of running his mouth. While social distancing measures are in place for fight night with the venue limited to 50% capacity, all other potential roadblocks have been cleared thanks to the feverish efforts of promoter No Limit Boxing in doing its part to ensure that the show does in fact go on.

“We see no reason for Team Zerafa NOT to turn up,” notes Jennings. “We have clearances from both New South Wales and Victoria government for the event to go ahead under COVID [protocol] at 50% capacity crowd. Tim and our team have been in Newcastle preparing now for over a week, so we are ready to go and Tim is pumped for this one.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox