IT’S a mark of Tom Schwarz’s perceived threat level that Tyson Fury, the former heavyweight champion of the world, is already lining up a fight on September 28 against an opponent yet to be announced.
Fury fights Schwarz, a relatively unknown German, on June 15 in Las Vegas and it’s a fight he is expected to win handily. Should this be the case, he will, as per his ESPN deal, then be boxing again on September 28, the emphasis on keeping busy and introducing himself to an American audience.
“I’m going to have a few weeks off and then it’s back to work again because I have another fight 28th of September,” Fury, 30, told BT Sport.
“I’ve been given dates and that’s the next date. For the next six months I’m going to be active. I’ve got three dates.”
The idea, according to Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum, with whom Fury has a co-promotional deal, is to build the ‘Gypsy King’s profile stateside before pursuing a rematch with WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder. It will be a softly-softly approach, one would assume, which perhaps explains why Schwarz has been chosen as opponent number one.
“I’m very unconcerned with rankings. Tom Schwarz is ranked above me. The rankings to me are unimportant,” he said. “I’m the lineal champion. I’ve got the status going back 100 years. The belt don’t mean nothing to me. As for the mandatory, I’d never box any of these men as their mandatory. Not interested at all.
“I’m above all that. The ‘Gypsy King’ fights who he wants, when he wants. People say, ‘Do you think these top three will fight each other?’
“Do they not remember when I went to America and beat (drew with) Deontay Wilder only a few months ago? The top two did fight each other.
“I’ve proved time and time again I can go anywhere and beat anyone. I don’t need to prove anything to anyone.”
For as long as Anthony Joshua holds three of the four world heavyweight titles (WBA, IBF and WBO), and for as long as Deontay Wilder, a man Fury nearly beat, holds the other (WBC), it’s easy to contest Fury’s view that he doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone.
The Juggernaut just keeps on chugging away.
On May 18, in support of Billy Joe Saunders’ WBO interim super-middleweight title fight against Shefat Isufi, heavyweight contender Joe Joyce will look to make it nine wins from nine when he faces former WBA ‘regular’ and European heavyweight title challenger Alexander Ustinov.
Known as ‘Alexander the Great’, Ustinov is six-foot-seven, as solid as he is slow, and has lost just three times in 37 fights. He is 42 years of age now and coming off back-to-back defeats but should, providing he is granted his VISA and actually arrives in England, still represent a decent test for Joyce on May 18.
“I could have waited until the big fight night on July 13th, but I wanted to keep busy,” said Joyce, the Commonwealth heavyweight champion. “I didn’t want a journeyman, so we chose a six-foot-eight giant and former world heavyweight title challenger, Alexander Ustinov, who has only lost three times. He is big, awkward and he can punch. My aim is to take him out in spectacular fashion and put on a great show for the fans at the Lamex stadium (Stevenage).”
Last time out, ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce lifted the nonsense WBA gold title with an impressive sixth-round demolition of former WBC champion Bermane Stiverne. He is now mandatory challenger for the British, European and WBA ‘regular’ titles. More importantly, he is being moved at a refreshing pace.
The last time Zab Judah came face to first with a man named Tszyu he ended up being floored twice off the same right hand, having got up and gone down again, and defeated inside two rounds. There were tears. There was shock. There was chaos. There was a Judah glove forced towards the throat of referee Jay Nady.
That was 2001, of course, and that Tszyu was Kostya. The latest Tszyu to mention Judah’s name, however, is Kostya’s son, Tim, a 12-0 super-welterweight who was just a pup when his father shattered Judah’s unbeaten record in Las Vegas.
Tim boxes for the Australian super-welterweight title against Joel Camilleri on May 15 but would be more than happy to usher Judah towards retirement at some point in the future.
“Yeah, 100 per cent. It’s been in discussion already,” Tszyu told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It could happen in the future. What a fight that would be in Australia.
“If the opportunity arises, we would take it. Something like that would bring a lot of interest to the Australian public, everyone would tune in.
“That’s the interest in the sport, having names like this makes it so intriguing. To be able to say my dad did it, now I can do it as well…
“I’ve just got to do it in under a round. It was right at the end of the second [when dad won], so I have to do it in under two rounds.”
That was 18 years ago, of course. Since then, Judah has shared a ring with the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan, Cory Spinks and Danny Garcia. He became a WBO super-lightweight champion in 2003, a WBA, WBC and IBF welterweight champion in 2005 and an IBF super-lightweight champion in 2011. Still active at 41, he fights Cletus Seldin in June, his first fight in almost 18 months.
It’s for his two-rounder with Tszyu, though, he will perhaps best be remembered. At least in Australia. At least in the Tszyu household.
“I was in year one,” Tim said. “I remember the whole street was watching that fight. When my dad knocked him out, I jumped out of the house and ran. I saw my grandma, my auntie, my mum walking and I ran up to them.
“They were like, ‘What happened? What happened?’
“And I was like, ‘Dad just knocked the guy out!’
“It was a big, big moment. The whole celebration in the street, at home, was one of the greatest moments for us.
“It’s so much more satisfying when you’ve got a talker like that getting knocked out in two rounds. There’s no better feeling.
“That would be 100 per cent my favourite [fight my dad took part in]. That was the top one.”
Tszyu vs. Judah won’t mean much in 2019 or 2020, admittedly, but the first encounter, back when Kostya and Zab were the two best junior-welterweights on the planet, will never be forgotten.