Tim Tszyu vowed he would return to Newcastle. And Australian boxing's hottest prospect has been true to his word.
Llittle more than a month after demolishing Irishman Dennis Hogan in front of a pulsating full house in Newcastle, Tszyu will return to the city in July to take on Victorian Michael Zerafa in what will be a much-hyped grudge bout at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre.
The July 7 fight will be officially announced in Sydney on Thursday.
Tszyu told the Newcastle Herald he can't wait to return after being blown away by the support he received for the Hogan fight.
"The support was unreal and the Newcastle crowd was just electric that night," he said. "I hadn't really experienced anything like it so hopefully, the city will get behind me again when I get back up there."
The bad blood between the unbeaten Tszyu and Zerafa will ensure the fight gets plenty of air time over the next two months with Tszyu labeling his opponent nothing more than a "pub fighter".
Zerafa has been calling Tsyzu out over the past 12 months, accusing him of being scared to get into the ring with him. All that will end now.
Asked if he hated Zerafa more than any other opponent, Tszyu said: "That's a very interesting question.
"I don't like him, he's very disrespectful," Tszyu said. "Whatever you say, you've got to be able to back it up. He's said some personal stuff and I intend to punish him for it. The good thing about my job as a boxer is I get to punch him in the face while I'm doing it.
"With him, it's became pretty personal and I really want to hurt him so I'm happy to get him in the ring. Every opponent who steps in the ring is a tough opponent and I'm taking nothing away from him.
"But he's in dreamworld right now. He's been mouthing off so much, he thinks he's someone he isn't. You've got to actually win something before you can start talking the way he does and even if you have made it, you still don't talk like that.
"The only reason he wants to fight is because he's got nothing else. He's a pub fighter and this is his only ticket to mainstream television.
"The best thing about it is I get to bring him back to reality."
While big stadium fights in Melbourne and Sydney were talked about during negotiations and would have generated more revenue, it was Tszyu and his Newcastle-based manager Glen Jennings who pushed for Newcastle as the venue again.
"They [the promoters] were keen to do it in stadiums and this and that but I said to them 'lets bring it back to Newcastle'," Tszyu said.
"The vibe for the Hogan fight was something not many fighters experience and the Newcastle people deserve it. We've got history up there and it's only good.
"The results last time spoke for themselves. Everyone was really happy with the way everything turned out. Newcastle - the city was alive so why not do it again. I hope Newcastle is excited about it because I know I am."
"We are bringing this fight to Newcastle to make him [Zerafa] feel like Newcastle is my second home.
"I want him to feel it, I want him to experience it and I'm very grateful to have it in Newcastle."
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