Michael Zerafa has called out Tim Tszyu, saying he is now in the “driver’s seat” in the race between the pair to become a world boxing champion.
Despite Tszyu being a mandatory challenger to undisputed super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo, Zerafa believes he has more clout and credibility on the world boxing stage.
Zerafa has been offered the chance to fight undefeated Mexican middleweight Jaime Munguia (39-0), and is also in line for an IBF world middleweight bout against Esquiva Falcao or possibly current champion Gennadiy Golovkin should “GGG” no longer go ahead with initial plans to vacate the title.
However, as he takes time to make a decision on which path to pursue, Zerafa – who has won 30 of his 34 professional bouts – wants to fight the unbeaten Tszyu (21-0) to “keep active”.
He said Tszyu had been “knocked off his pedestal” by Charlo, who mocked the Australian boxer following his weekend success in unifying the super welterweight division by knocking out Brian Castano.
“No-one knows who Tim Tszyu is – I tell everyone this,” Zerafa said.
“Everyone just gets on his bandwagon. I had Charlo on my undercard when I fought Peter Quillin (in 2015). I’ve been there with these guys. I know who these guys are.
“Tim Tszyu just thinks he’s the king of this boxing caper – he’s not.
“The only way they know him is when he’s introduced as Kostya Tszyu’s son.”
Zerafa and Tszyu were scheduled to fight in July last year only for Zerafa to pull out a week before the bout.
“I’ve always been keen for that fight. The public were just reading what was said,” Zerafa said in claiming promises made by the Tszyu camp weren’t kept.
“There’s no love between us. We need to settle in. It’ll be a huge main event. Let’s do it.”
Zerafa, 30, said he had overcome a “dark point” in his career and life, and that it was now “showtime” following his second-round knockout of Issac Hardman in last month’s world-title eliminator in Melbourne.
“I overcame all the adversity. It was a tough two years, with everything that happened, but I knew it would pass,” he said.
“I knew I would come out on top. It’s the time now where I want to really make statements and fight these (world-class) guys.
“I just had to stay strong, surround myself with good people and believe that eventually my time would come.
“We’re now in the driver’s seat.”