Michael Zerafa has pulled out of his highly-anticipated bout with Tim Tszyu, the two camps offering wildly different takes on why the July 7 fight in Newcastle won’t be going ahead.
Promoters No Limit Boxing initially issued a statement about the withdrawal, announcing that Steve Spark would now fight Tszyu on the same day instead.
“We knew from the moment he looked Tim in the eyes at the press conference and went quiet that he never wanted this fight,” CEO of No Limit Boxing George Rose said of Zerafa’s late withdrawal.
“I knew it. Tim knew it. Australia knew it.
“He never wanted this fight and all I can say is I’m sorry for everyone who has wanted this fight for so long.”
STEVIE SPARK STEPS UP!
Queensland's Stevie Spark will fight Tim Tszyu next Wednesday night after Michael Zerafa withdrew.
— Ben Damon (@ben_damon) June 30, 2021
But Zerafa’s trainer Sam Labruna offered a different take on events, saying it was COVID-related.
“We never called the fight off,” he said.
“We discussed having a bubble, a COVID-safe plan … but they didn’t come up with anything.”
He said the next option was another date.
“We wanted to move the fight three to four weeks but they said no,” Labruna said.
Spark (12-1, 11KO) will instead take to the ring less than three months after he impressed in a convincing win over Jack Brubaker.
“Credit to Steve for taking this fight,” Tszyu said.
“He’s a dangerous fighter with a lot of power.
CINDERELLA MAN 😍
— MAIN EVENT (@MainEventTV) June 30, 2021
“I’ve seen it for myself. I was ringside at the fight in Wollongong when he hammered Jack Brubaker, and saw how well he did under the bright lights.
“He has power, stamina and keeps the pressure on. I know he’s coming to hit and hit hard.
“I’m expecting that and much more next Wednesday night. It’s going to be a great fight.”
As for an eventual fight between Zerafa and Tszyu, the camps seemed just as split with the latter indicating it wouldn’t happen.
“I don’t believe that,” Labruna said.
“I believe that Michael and Tim are the best fighters in the country; I believe the fight will happen down the track.”