“You’re not a patch on your father”.
Tony Harrison has lit the fuse for an explosive world title fight against Tim Tszyu, saying the undefeated Australian is “100 levels under” his legendary dad, Kostya Tszyu.
Just as 28-year-old Tszyu declared his intense training and lifestyle makes Kostya look like an amateur, Detroit native Harrison shot down the notion Tim can emulate the former unified light-welterweight champion considered by many to be the greatest fighter to represent Australia.
Tszyu, who will become one of the few sons in history to match their champion boxer fathers if he defeats Harrison for the WBO super-welterweight belt in Sydney on Sunday, has taken his preparation to extraordinary heights.
“I told you I’d been researching Cristiano Ronaldo, I’m living that lifestyle full-time, I make sure I’m asleep by 9pm every night and getting enough rest, I make sure I drink enough water,” Tszyu said.
“Everything has been picture perfect.
“I’m at the stage where I don’t feel like a human being right now, I’m in fight mode, and everyone around me respects that.
“My missus leaves me alone, everyone knows the go. It’s so systematic.
“I remember back in the day growing up with a dad who was so systematic and like a soldier, I feel like I’m even more systematic than him in the way I’ve approached this fight.
“It blows him away, like an amateur.”
But Harrison rubbished the idea Tim could be the same championship force as Kostya.
“He’s probably getting stories from people around him saying how undisciplined his father was, he probably does tick those boxes in terms of discipline and hard work, but is he better skilled than his father? F— no,” Harrison told News Corp Australia.
“He is 100 levels under his father, he ain’t a patch on his father.
“Everything is not about hard work and discipline, you’ve got to have skills. Everything has got to line up, you can’t have one without the other.
“His father had to have some kind of discipline and hard work to become champion and beat the guys he beat, it was crazy. Talent levels, he is light years under his father, light years.
“He’s not even a surface level of what his father was. His father was dangerous man, and had heavy hands too, so you can’t force me to believe his father was undisciplined.”
Harrison, the former WBC champion, believes his elusive defence and counter-attack will dismantle Tszyu’s ferocious non-stop attack.
“I promise you this, he can’t come in with that reckless s—, because I’m a counter it every time,” Harrison said.
“He’s going to see that there’s levels, you can’t just go, it’s not just go with me no more, he’s got to show different aspects of his fight game.
“I’m the smartest, I don’t parade on myself being the toughest by far, I don’t parade myself on getting hit and having a hard chin, I don’t even want those attributes over my head.
“I parade myself on being the smartest, not getting hit the most, having longevity in a sport that has longevity for nobody.
“I parade myself on giving people an illusion they can hit something they can’t, then take it away and counter them.
“I’m Tony Copperfield.”
Tszyu (21-0, 15KO) fights Harrison (29-3-1, 21KO) at Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon – a fight that will be beamed back to millions in the United States in prime-time Saturday night.
The winner will face Jermell Charlo later this year for all four major belts in the super-welterweight division.
Originally published as Tim Tszyu vs. Tony Harrison: What time is the fight? Seven-word sledge ignites title fight