Tszyu declares world title fight his last in Australia

Boxing

Tim Tszyu has declared his world title defence against Brian Mendoza his final fight in Australia and delivered a chilling warning to his American rival.

Tszyu (23-0, 17KOs) will place his WBO super-welterweight belt on the line at the Gold Coast Exhibition Centre on Sunday in his first appearance since being elevated from interim to full champion last month.

Mendoza (22-2, 16KOs) is super confident of bursting the undefeated 29-year-old’s bubble after reviving his career with a pair of explosive knockout wins over Jeison Rosario and the highly-rated Sebastian Fundora.

Boxing legend Jeff Fenech on Thursday night said: “It’s a very, very dangerous fight for Tim. He’s got to be at his best.”

But a steely-eyed Tszyu is having none of it, saying he has “a black heart right now” and is ready to destroy his big-punching challenger from New Mexico.

“He fought Fundora (in Carson, California) but it’s a different vibe here on the Gold Coast. You’re coming into enemy territory completely,” he said after an open training session at Pacific Square Shopping Centre.

“Everyone here is Aussie. It’s like I’m defending the land. There’s no way he’s coming to grab the land.”

After first claiming the WBO interim title with a savage ninth-round stoppage against American Tony Harrison in Sydney in March, Tszyu defended the strap on the Gold Coast with a first-round knockout of Mexican Carlos Ocampo in June.

His victory over Ocampo came just 22 days after requiring surgery and 26 stitches in right hand after being attacked by a friend’s Pit Bull Terrier.

Now fully recovered, Tszyu is ready to showcase a different beast against Mendoza.

“It’s not him, it’s me. The progression that I’m making, it’s me I can’t wait to show you,” he said.

“Last time there was a dog bite, so there was a bit of a problem. I was lucky I got it out in 70 (seconds). This time you’ll see a more, I guess, calculated (performance).”

Twenty-one of his 22 previous previous professional fights have been in Australia, with his lone overseas tussle being a victory over Terrell Gausha in Minneapolis in March, 2022.

But he craves the boxing mecca of Las Vegas, where he recently returned from an intense training camp, and says his fighting future beyond Sunday lay in the US.

“I know this is the last hurrah in Australia,” Tszyu said. “This is it.”

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