Tim Tszyu’s fight in Newcastle sold out in less than 24 hours, and he warned rival Michael Zerafa that it will feel like there are 50,000 fans baying for his blood at the venue renamed ‘Tszyucastle Entertainment Centre’.
The July 7 showdown between Tszyu and Zerafa officially sold all 5700 seats by Monday, and Zerafa had to fly to Newcastle only to be greeted by the arena’s new name – the first time they’ve changed its title in 30 years.
“He might have fought Kell Brook in England in front of 20,000, but trust me this is going to feel like 50,000 people against you, it’s intimidating,” Tszyu told Zerafa.
The Victorian scrapper, who was up at 4am to do his road run, flew to Newcastle to see the unveiling of the Tszyucastle building, then flew back to resume training, was unconcerned.
“I’m not fussed by the hype, they can scream Tszyu, they can say whatever they want, my focus is on the fight,” Zerafa said.
“I know deep down he knows I’m going to be his hardest test. I take nothing away from him, every fight he’s getting better. He is a champion, he holds himself really well, but I’ve been in there with some big boys, and heart is going to play a big role in this fight.
“I’m a different caliber. I’m not going to make any predictions but I know I’m going to be his hardest fight.”
Still, it is quite the unique situation for 26-year-old Tszyu, whose legendary father Kostya fought in Newcastle seven times.
Renaming it ‘Tszyucastle’ was the brainchild of promoter George Rose, who wondered if it could be done after Tszyu dismantled Dennis Hogan in his previous bout there to those chants.
“I thought we were mad for even thinking of it, so the fact we’ve been able to pull it off is pretty cool,” Rose said.