The event was dealt a hammer blow when one of the headline acts withdrew a week out, but promoter George Rose still rates tonight's eight-fight boxing card at Newcastle Entertainment Centre one of the best No Limit Boxing has put on.
Limited tickets remained on sale late yesterday for the fight-night, which was originally expected to attract almost 6000 spectators but has had its capacity capped at about 3000 in line with COVID-19 restrictions.
The card is headlined by the bout between Tim Tszyu and Toowoomba's Steve Spark, who was last week drafted in to replace Victorian Michael Zerafa who pulled out citing concerns with the COVID-19 situation.
Zerafa was widely panned for withdrawing at late notice but he didn't rate a mention at yesterday's weigh-in where Tszyu and Spark faced off and spoke their final words before the event.
Tszyu said Spark had "big balls" taking the fight but he would end his victory hopes early in the 10-round contest.
"The dream ends tomorrow," Tszyu said.
Spark said he had always felt he would fight Tszyu but the opportunity had come sooner than expected.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity ... but this is what I've dreamt about my whole life and I've worked very hard to get to this spot so I'm not letting it slip away," he said.
Promoter George Rose said Sydney's COVID-19 outbreak and Zerafa's withdrawal had been challenging but No Limit Boxing had been committed to proceeding with the event and Spark was a worthy challenger for Tszyu as he continues to build towards a world-title shot.
"If Tim is on that world-title journey, he needs to have quality opponents that test him and that's what Stevie Spark is. He is a very talented boxer," Rose said.
"Everyone on the undercard wants to try and steal the show as well.
"As far as the quality of the undercard ... it is well and truly up there. It is up there with one of the best cards we've put together."
The undercard fights commence from 6.20pm. Novocastrian Troy O'Meley takes on Gunnedah's Wade Ryan in one fight while the card also includes Filipino Joe Noynay, who is the first international boxer No Limit has brought to Australia during the current COVID situation.
"There's some really good match-ups, genuine 50-50 match-ups that are going to be great viewing," Rose said.
"Whether you're watching here or at home, make sure you tune in early because there's some really great fighters coming through here in Australia - they're taking the tough fights.
"Liam Wilson is stepping up against an absolute star from the Philippines. It is going to be a massive test for Liam."
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