Tszyu Keen To Fight Crawford After He’s Beaten ‘Yapper’ Thurman

February 15, 2024
3 months
Tim Tszyu

Super-welterweight world champion Tim Tszyu has joined the long list of fighters to call out Terence Crawford as the Australian prepares for next month’s high-profile bout against Keith Thurman.

Unbeaten Tszyu (24-0-0 17 KO) will take on Thurman at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on March 30, although his WBO world title will not be on the line. Instead, the fight will be held at 155lbs – one pound more than the super-welterweight limit – as the WBO did not sanction the bout.

That decision was partly due to Thurman having never fought at 154lbs and the fact he’s been inactive for the past two years. The American is therefore not ranked by the WBO at super-welterweight. By fighting above the limit, Tszyu avoids needing to fight a WBO-ranked opponent.

While Tszyu’s focus is on Thurman and impressing on his Las Vegas debut, the Australian couldn’t help but throw his hat in the ring for a shot at unified welterweight champion Crawford.

“There have been talks between us. And I give Crawford all respect. He’ll fight anyone. And that’s why I see him as such a great challenge. But I also see him as being beatable,” Tszyu said in an interview with Fox Sports Australia.

“There’s a lot going on. It could be Crawford, Errol Spence, whichever one is easiest to make. That’s why this upcoming fight means so much … I win and the possibilities are endless.”

The build-up to Tszyu’s fight with Thurman has been filled with insults being hurled at each other. In the press conference to promote the fight earlier this month Thurman described Tszyu has a “flat-footed Mexican” and attempted to discredit boxers from Australia.

“I want him to go, tail tucked, head down back to his daddy in Australia ‘I’m sorry pops. I’m Sorry. The Tszyu name … I’m done. I didn’t know he was that fast’,” Thurman said. “Your flat feet slow,” he added. “Australia, that’s a small island very far away. And I did not know flat-footed Mexicans were born in Australia, Tszyu.”

Tszyu, the son of former multiple world champion Kostya Tszyu, responded by calling Thurman a “yapper”.

“I’m not sure what he’s implying there,” he said. “Maybe he thinks I’m easy to hit? What I do know is when I said something back to him, when I defended the Mexican style that has been around for centuries, he started backing out of the comment like he knew he f…ed up.

“The guy doesn’t think before he speaks,” Tszyu added. “His build-up to fighting Manny Pacquiao in 2019, exactly the same. He’s just a little yapper. And I’ve always found the bigger the dog, the less they bark. But Chihuahuas, they’re gunna yap. It’s all for show.”

Away from the surface-level trash talk, Tszyu believes his challenger mentality and determination to secure a legacy will be the big difference in his fight with Thurman. The American has not fought since a February 2022 points victory over Mario Barrios. That represented his first fight in two-and-a-half years, when he suffered a first professional defeat to Manny Pacquiao in July 2019.

“I mean, where is his drive? These guys make a few bucks, get some attention and everything changes. They aren’t as hungry anymore,” Tszyu said. “But me, I’m never content. Never satisfied.

“[I] never switch off. I can’t go on holiday and relax. I just can’t. Same as I cannot commit to things like weddings or engagement parties. When you have a drive like mine, you can’t do any of these things because you’re always chasing that next goal. And that definitely has its own challenges.”