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Tim Tszyu insists he is a world champion in waiting ahead of Jeff Horn bout

Tim Tszyu
Tim Tszyu. Photo credit: Getty Images

Junior middleweight contender Tim Tszyu 15-0 (11) says he doesn’t see former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn 20-2-1 (13) as anything more than an average boxer.

The pair are due to square off at the Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville, Australia next Wednesday night.

“There’s a lot of things that separate Jeff, an average world champion professional boxer, from a world-class contender,” Tszyu told Peter Maniatis on the KO Boxing Show.

“Becoming a world champion is one thing, but staying world champion is another thing.

“He’s reached his highs and he doesn’t have the characteristics to stay as a world champion. I mean, look at what Crawford did to him. I don’t think Horn even won two or three seconds of that fight.

“That just proves the different class. That’s the difference. Once I win a world title, I will stay a champion. I will show the two different classes we’re at right now.”

The 25-year-old son of Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu stepped up his level of competition last year, defeating former Commonwealth champion Denton Vassell, Australian champion Joel Camilleri and world-rated Dwight Ritchie.

“Fighting Joel Camilleri was a big change in my professional career,” Tszyu said. “I stepped up to a different platform. It was a nationwide (televised) audience. It was a great experience.

“I think Joel Camilleri would give anybody problems in the world actually. He’s a tough competitor who is very awkward. He does things out of the ordinary.

“He’s a very good boxer and he knows what he’s doing and super fit as well. It was a tough fight but I learned a lot in that fight.

“I feel like I adapted and I was able to find my rhythm eventually. The first few rounds were a bit shaky but then I got the hang of it and I thought I did a good job in the later rounds.

“Dwight Ritchie, may he rest in peace, was a tough fight. He was a true warrior. He was swinging nonstop. His activity level was on another level. I had to dig deep.

“I felt like I controlled the whole fight. It was a great experience. He was the number one super welterweight in Australia. My number one goal was to get into position to fight the best super welterweight in the country and I did get that opportunity to prove myself.”

Reflecting on his childhood, Tszyu said his famous father taught him many valuable lessons that he is now applying to his own career.

“It was a real military-based childhood,” Tszyu said. “Every morning we would go for a run. We just did things out of the ordinary because my dad was out of the ordinary. He just wasn’t the typical person, he wasn’t the typical athlete. Not even the typical boxer. He would do things differently.

“The main thing my dad taught me was to never give up. That’s what I carry now. Always keep pushing yourself. To never stop because there are days when you feel like this is tough, but you got to never give up.”