‘I’m not content’: What drives the evolution of Tim Tzuyu

‘I’m not content’: What drives the evolution of Tim Tzuyu
  • PublishedOctober 6, 2023

Tim Tszyu is restless.

He might be the newly-minted WBO super-welterweight world champion, but he isn’t satisfied.

He wants more, he wants it now, and anyone standing in his way can, in his own words, get it.

That’s why, despite Brian Mendoza being one of the nicest blokes in boxing, Tszyu has no time for him.

The pair first met face-to-face in Las Vegas for a promotional interview three weeks ago ahead of their world title fight on the Gold Coast next weekend.

Deep in training mode in the Nevada desert at the time, Tszyu describes their encounter.

“I don’t like talking to my opponents. There’s nothing to talk about, I’m not friends with them,” he says. “Everything frustrates me about them – the way they talk, the way they look around, their beard, their haircut, his smile.

“I don’t like his smile.”

Tszyu doesn’t like Mendoza’s smile … or his bears. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images

Tszyu doesn’t like Mendoza’s smile … or his bears. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images

Tszyu’s new-found urgency to reach the top of the boxing world is a result of that end goal finally becoming clearer, and more tangible over the past 12 months.

Where the first few years of his professional career were a slow build towards something unknown, these days, his name is being mentioned in the same breath as Jermell Charlo, and even Canelo Alvarez.

“When you start, it’s different, it’s blurry,” he says. “It took years and years and big fights to get to the path where you can actually see it.

“This is a journey to the treasure, and that treasure is right in front of my eyes. I can see it, and it’s not so far off in the distance.

“It’s a different buzz for me than previously.”

Tszyu just needs to think back to those early days for reference.

In his pay-per-view debut in May 2019 against Joel Camilleri, he won the Australian super-welterweight title.

Like any young star with new-found fame, he celebrated.

But these days?

“Once I finish a fight, I’m not happy,” he says. “Even the (Carlos) Ocampo fight, as soon as I’d finished, it was just like, ‘Who’s next?’

“I’m not content, I’m not done. I guess I’m just changing and evolving as a person and a boxer.

“Who I was five years ago is a completely different person to who I am now. It’s years of hard work, being on the grind and being able to handle situations that are thrown at you.”

Another ubiquitous theme in his early career was the battle to escape the shadow of his famous father. He’s done that now.

Charlo doesn’t mention his name because of what his dad did. Neither does pound-for-pound king Terence Crawford, who took to social media to voice his approval of Tszyu’s 77-second destruction of Ocampo.

Tszyu blitzed Carlos Ocampo in June. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Tszyu blitzed Carlos Ocampo in June. Picture: Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Having broken away from comparisons to Kostya, Tim is now in what his team is calling the ‘second phase’ of his career and is forging his own formidable legacy.

“It’s just an evolution of Tim Tszyu,” he says. “A progression, not just in boxing, but as a human being.

“It’s being better than what I was yesterday, and aspiring to be something greater.

“It’s a great satisfaction, but at the same time, I’m not satisfied at all. I’ve always got that something, that someone else to chase.

“I’m chasing this person that I’m becoming.”

For Tszyu, becoming that person means blockbuster bouts in the fight capital of the world: Las Vegas.

Most people travel to Sin City and need to detox after leaving.

Tszyu goes there to get away from outside distractions.

“It’s a real detox from everything – from the world and getting into the boxing zone,” he says.

“So this will be my last fight here in Australia for a bit of time.

“Las Vegas, that’s where dreams are made for my career.”

Tszyu gets his hands wrapped ahead of one of his last training sessions in Sydney before flying to the Gold Coast. Picture: Grant Trouville

Tszyu gets his hands wrapped ahead of one of his last training sessions in Sydney before flying to the Gold Coast. Picture: Grant Trouville

That’s a phenomenal amount of pressure to place on your own shoulders, but the external pressure is just as heavy. For while there are other Australian boxing stars – and current and former world champions – Tszyu is undoubtedly the face of the sport in this country.

You can feel the weight of the nation and the industry on his shoulders when he walks to the ring each time he fights.

“Honestly, man, I feel like it’s an honour,” he says. “It really is a blessing.

“Some people are just making ends meet, and people are struggling these days.

“But I’m doing something I truly love, for a shit ton of money, and I get to represent the people.

“I’m living the best life I possibly can at 28 years old.

“The pressure? Of course, it’s going to be there, but I’m all for that. This is what I love to do. This is my journey.”

Which raises an interesting question.

If he wasn’t boxing, what would he be doing?

He doesn’t have an answer for that one, but he knows he’d be just as impatient, just as restless to be the best.

“I never made no plan B,” he says. “I wouldn’t even know.

“I chose boxing at 21, but with my personality, whatever I did, I’d be going at it 120 per cent.

“Who knows what I’ll be doing at 40, but whatever I choose, I’ll be as successful as what I’m doing right now.”

SOURCE: NEWS.COM

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