Only a little more than a month after destroying Irishman Dennis Hogan in front of a heaving sellout boxing crowd in Newcastle, Tim Tszyu could be on his way back to the city to do it all again.
A much-hyped fight against Victorian Michael Zerafa is understood to be very close to becoming a reality with the Newcastle Entertainment Centre among the preferred venues to again host the bout.
Unbeaten Tszyu was lavish in his praise of the city and the crowd after stopping Hogan in the fifth round in late March to continue his charge towards a world title fight.
"I've been all around Australia and this is the best place I've been to," Tszyu told the Newcastle crowd immediate after the win.
So you can bet he would have no qualms returning should the numbers stack up for No Limit promoter Matt Rose and could even be pushing Newcastle's barrow along with his manager Glen Jennings, who lives locally at Black Hill.
"Nothing is set in stone as yet because we are still working on a few things with the Zerafa fight to try and get it over the line," Rose told us last night. "Hopefully, we can get something sorted over the weekend and then we'll look at the venue after that.
"I can't say too much but I can tell you it will either be in Newcastle at the Ent Cent again or at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney. Once we get the fight nailed down, we'll make a decision."
Rose admitted the whole experience in Newcastle for the Hogan fight was "special".
"Yeah, it was a special night - everyone has commented on that," he said. "The atmosphere was out of this world, it looked great on television as well and Tim put on a great performance.
"We'll definitely be coming back to Newcastle again. The restriction with the number of seats is the only real issue up there but there is obviously also a lot of positives."
Zerafa 29, has made plenty of noise about wanting to get into the ring with Tszyu for quite some time, calling him out after Tszyu's win over Bowyn Morgan at Bankwest Stadium back in December.
After Zerafa took care of a 45-year-old Anthony Mundine in just two minutes in his last fight in Bendigo, he said after the win: "It's my time. I told you, you passed the torch and now it's time Tim Tszyu - excuse my French - but stop f***ing running. It's time to fight."
Zerafa has 28 wins with 17 ko's and four losses from 32 fights.
The Knights have identified signing an established centre as a priority for next season but are not rushing into making a decision as the player market in the NRL begins to heat up.
The club held talks with Brisbane Broncos centre Kotoni Staggs and also spoke to Will Chambers earlier in the season. The club baulked at the asking price for both with Staggs likely to remain in Brisbane and Chambers now at the Sharks.
Cowboys playmaker Jake Clifford and teenage Manly centre Christian Mapapalangi are currently the only new additions to the senior roster.
Mapapalangi 19, will arrive in Newcastle tomorrow and is likely to play for the Knights' NSW Cup side next weekend after being released by the Sea Eagles following his decision to leave.
It now appears certain both Connor Watson and Kurt Mann will be among the current off-contract players the Knights will look to retain.
Former Knights high performance boss Tony Ayoub has responded to comments made by former player Nathan Ross in the latest Toohey's News podcast. Ross was critical of the way he was treated while injured prior to his medical retirement.
Ayoub told Fox Sports: "I am sorry if Nathan feels that way. I can only draw on my 30 years of experience in dealing with injuries and what I see as a fit way to treat and train (players).
"In some instances certain players needed pushing based on what I was assessing at that time. At no time have I intentionally pushed a player that I didn't think could handle the loads."
Wests back women
The Newcastle Knights are close to making a decision on if they will field a side in an expanded NRL Women's premiership in 2022.
Knights and Wests Group CEO Phil Gardner is a big supporter of the women's game and is keen to provide a local pathway to cater for the growing numbers of female players in the region.
And it's not just rugby league the Wests Group is keen to get behind.
Gardner told us if the NSW government comes good on a proposal to build a new 10,000-seat Entertainment Centre in Newcastle, Wests would also back new national netball and basketball franchises.
Pleasure from pain
If you are like us and taking some pleasure out of seeing the once mighty, all-conquering Brisbane Broncos doing it a little tough these days even allowing for their win over the Titans, your joy will be magnified by the fact the Knights have assisted in a small way to help cruel their salary cap position.
Before the Knights signed David Klemmer from the Dogs, the club had a big crack at getting Broncos players Tevita Pangai Jnr and Matt Lodge to Newcastle.
They both knocked back substantial offers from the Knights after Brisbane upped the ante considerably to keep them. They are now struggling to off-load Lodge to create some much needed cap space.
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