The “clown” Tszyu is referring to is Jack Brubaker. Tszyu will fight him at the First State Super Theatre at ICC Sydney on Friday for the International Boxing Federation Australasian Super Welter belt, although the winner will also emerge with the unofficial title of the “face of Australian boxing”.
Legendary Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has indicated Tszyu could be in line for a world-title shot against Carlos Adames in Australia next year if both fighters win their upcoming bouts. But first Tszyu must contend with Brubaker.
Adding intrigue to that contest is the presence of Jeff Fenech in Brubaker’s corner. Fenech was instrumental in Tszyu’s father, multiple world champion Kostya, becoming an Australian. However, he will be plotting the downfall of Tszyu 2.0 in a bout between two of the most entertaining fighters on the local scene.
“When Tim was born, I was with them,” Fenech said. “Tim was born with teeth. He was eating meat at three months old. I admire him and I love what he is doing. But I’ve got a job to do. Somebody has employed me and I’m going to do the job the best I can.
“If Tim wins and goes on to become [a world champion], I would love that. If Jack wins, I would be even more proud that I’m part of changing his persona. I’m not sure what the odds are, but there aren’t too many predicting Jack can win.”
Brubaker’s moniker is “Gelignite”, a nod to an explosive style that often results in him copping as many blows as he lands. Fenech’s challenge is to ensure his charge doesn’t get hit more often than necessary.
“My plan is to bring a different Jack because I don’t believe the Jack that fought all those other guys can beat Tim Tszyu,” Fenech said.
“If he’s going to stand in front of Tim Tszyu and go punch for punch, it’s not going to be the best scenario. If he can do what our game plan is, then an upset can happen. Tim Tszyu’s dad, one of the greatest fighters Australia has ever had, fought against Ricky Hatton and lost. We can all be beaten.”
The undercard will again have a rugby league flavour to it. Justin Hodges will take on Darcy Lussick in a clash that, if the former wins, will likely set up a bout against Paul Gallen. Former Manly forward Lussick is a member of the Toronto Wolfpack, but has ruled out taking on teammate Sonny Bill Williams in the ring.
“No, I’m not fighting a teammate,” Lussick said. “I’ll fight on his undercard. He’s done it really well, I’m looking forward to meeting him.”
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.