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Sunday, July 25, 2021

Underdog Spark’s threat to ‘dethrone’ Tszyu

The Commonwealth Boxing Council has put its super welterweight belt up for grabs as late ring-in Stevie Spark pledges to shatter Tim Tszyu’s aura of invincibility on Wednesday night.

Spark was pulling beers in Toowoomba last week when he fielded a call from his trainer-manager Brendon Smith with an offer to step up as Michael Zerafa’s replacement at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre.

Now, the 24-year-old has no plans of being Tszyu’s punching bag, and nor seemingly do Commonwealth officials who deem Spark a worthy opponent to elevate the fight’s status.

The underdog has won 11 of his 13 professional bouts by knockout – and lost just once.

“A very dangerous young man,” Tszyu’s manager Glenn Jennings said.

“He’s got a great KO record, highly-respected by us and we’ve left no stone unturned.”

Spark could only thank Zerafa for his dramatic no-show and said he plans to cash in on the opportunity to set his family up for life with one of the biggest boilovers in Australian boxing history.

“He (Smith) called me at the pub pulling beers and we made the decision in five minutes,” he explained.

“This is an opportunity you can’t turn down.

“We’re not here to make up the numbers.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t back myself.

“So, I’m here to win this fight and I’m here to dethrone the face of Australian boxing.”

Despite Spark being widely written off against the undefeated Tszyu (18-0, 14 KOs), boxing legend Jeff Fenech gives him a chance.

“My style is a style that Tim probably hasn’t seen yet, one he hasn’t been in the ring yet (with),” he said.

“I haven’t sparred him and my style is going to pose a threat to him.

“It’s one of those things when you’ve got two grown men who can whack very hard and that’s myself and Tim with 10-ounce gloves on.

“In those exchanges, it only takes one shot and this is a very dangerous fight, for myself yes, and for Tim.

“In anyone of these exchanges a punch only has to half glance past him to cause a cut and that’s a TKO win.

“So, don’t count me out in this fight.

“I’m here to do this for every Aussie battler out there.”

Tszyu, though, is typically having none of it and refused to buy into Spark’s claims the pair were “probably the two nicest guys in Australian boxing”.

“First of all, thanks to him for stepping in at such late notice,” the champ said.

“But, this is business for me.

“We’re not friends yet.

“I’ve got one thing on my mind and that’s to take him out – by any means possible.”

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