Tszyu eyes Fundora rematch but ready to face big names

Melissa Woods |

Tim Tszyu says he’ll bounce back after his unlucky loss to Sebastian Fundora.
Tim Tszyu says he’ll bounce back after his unlucky loss to Sebastian Fundora.

Warrior Tim Tszyu might be down but he’s far from out, with his plans to become a boxing big dog merely taking a different route, according to his manager.

Tszyu entered his Las Vegas super-welterweight unification world title fight against Sebastian Fundora as the hottest property in the sport.

But a gaping head gash suffered late in the second round when he walked into 197cm Fundora’s elbow, that left him unable to see clearly for 10 rounds, scuppered his plans to emulate his father Kostya as a unified world champion.

Suffering his first defeat in 25 fights with a split decision, Tszyu relinquished his WBO super welterweight belt and missed the chance to claim the vacant WBC strap at T-Mobile Arena and take his place among boxing’s elite.

Before the loss, the 29-year-old had a $US10 million ($A15.3 million) deal on the table to fight either pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford or former unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr.

Tszyu will likely need to enact a rematch clause with Fundora to regain his belts and put his plans for world domination back on track.

Tszyu lands a right on Fundora.
Despite being cut, Tszyu drew praise from commentators for his spirit against Fundora. (AP PHOTO)

“It definitely affects the schedule,” Rose said.

“Everything that we’d planned for this year is now re-jigged but I don’t think it’s for a bad reason. It just means there’s another fight for Tim to consider.

“I would love to see Tim have the rematch next but if an opportunity to fight Errol Spence Jr pops up or an opportunity to fight Terence Crawford … if one of those pops up, you’re silly not to consider it.

“They’re fight’s he’d love to have.”

Rose said talks over a Fundora rematch would begin in the next few days, with a return to Las Vegas or a fight on home turf possibilities.

“We will have a discussion over when we will activate it or whether any of these other big fish want to jump up and swim with Tim,” he said.

While Tszyu’s world title is gone, Rose insists the Sydney fighter has lost no fans, given his willingness to take on the “Towering Inferno” with less than two weeks’ notice after his original opponent Keith Thurman was injured.

Even US commentators applauded Tszyu for his bravery to continuing against Fundora despite being virtually blinded in his right eye – a worst-case scenario against a left-hander with an extreme reach advantage.

“It was a great fight and let’s hope they get the chance to do it again,” one broadcaster said.

Rose and the boxers at a pre-match face-off.
George Rose (L), seen at the pre-fight face-off, says Tszyu’s plans have merely been delayed. (AP PHOTO)

Rose said Tszyu “didn’t lose any stocks”.

“It just showed how much of a warrior Tim actually is and how he’s ready to get in there and absolutely put everything on the line,” he said.

“He’s a bloke who couldn’t see for 10 rounds and he still managed to push it to a split decision.”

Hoping he hadn’t fallen down the pecking order, Tszyu was shattered but determined to rebound quickly.

“If it ain’t a win, I’m not satisfied and I’m quite devastated. It is what it is,” he said.

“But I will bounce back.”

He said he had no regrets about his corner not pushing for the fight to be called a no-contest despite the “waterfall” of blood, which would have allowed Tszyu more time to prepare for the awkward southpaw.

Tszyu had a message for Spence and Crawford that he was ready whenever they were.

“I showed up still, no matter what, and I always bring the fight,” Tszyu said.

“I was given one week (to prepare), no excuses, but I’ll fight whoever, whenever.

“Even Errol Spence, who’s here. I’ll fight him as well.

“Even Terrence Crawford, man. You want a good scrap? You know who to call”

AAP