Late on Wednesday afternoon, a sweepstakes of sorts opened up when it was revealed that Michael Zerafa would not be fighting Tim Tszyu on July 7.
A number of fighters were bandied around by promoter No Limit Boxing, who eventually secured the signature of 24-year-old Steve Spark. One of the names rumoured to have been approached is surging Welterweight, Andrew Hunt.
Speaking to The Inner Sanctum, Hunt’s trainer and manager Glenn Rushton confirmed this to be the case.
“Matt Rose gave me a call, it was very brief. He just said ‘are you interested in the fight in a weeks’ time with Tim Tszyu?’,” he said.
“Obviously we would have to consider all the impacts ourselves of COVID, potentially having to quarantine on the way back.
“Then obviously if enough money’s put up you’ve got to weigh that up, but we didn’t even get around to talking dollars and cents.
“My main consideration was just 10 rounds in one week. We just simply would not be ready for that fight.”
At present, Hunt is recovering for a number of nagging injuries that have halted his ability to train regularly. Entering a camp for a fight with the best Super Welterweight in Australia then, was off the table.
Turning down the Tszyu bout is not a suggestion that Hunt and his team are taking a backwards step.
They do concede though, that timing is a particularly valuable commodity in the fight game.
“Andrew recovered from an ankle which is only a couple of weeks old now and I’ve just got him back sparring again,” Rushton told.
“He had stitches in his hand as well from a motorbike accident of all things.
“Had they said we’ve three weeks, we probably would’ve taken the fight.
“The benefit of Steve Spark is that he was I think already training for a fight. For him, if he was in good shape and already training for a fight he would be in a lot better position to take it at a week’s notice.
“We don’t even have a fight on but we’re looking at some fights at the moment. Looking everywhere.”
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Rushton believes that the 23 year old southpaw is destined for the highest honours in the sport and is willing to match him up accordingly.
For both trainer and fighter, the trajectory must continue upward after Hunt defeated the incredibly tough Ben Kite to become the ANBF Australasian Welterweight champion in April.
“I don’t want to take an easy fight I want another meaningful fight. I want a meaningful fight for Andrew Hunt,” he said.
“Andrew beat the ANBF fighter of the year in Ben Kite which was a great effort in only his ninth fight. We’re looking to step him up.
“We would take just about any fight in this country given enough time to get ready for it.”
In fact, the team are high on the idea of a future clash between Tszyu and Hunt.
Of course, Rushton and his stable of fighters at Stretton Boxing Club are familiar with Tszyu, who famously defeated Jeff Horn in Townsville last year.
Injuries, short notice and a global pandemic mean that another opportunity to fight their old foe will have to wait for the distant future, if at all.
“It’s a fight I’d love. I think Andrew Hunt is an incredible talent and it would be an amazing fight. But at one week, unfortunately when you look at the record in the future, no-one says ‘only had one week to get ready’. It just says win or loss,” Rushton stated.
“Andrew Hunt is a fighter I believe can go all the way and become a World champion and is too valuable a commodity to risk.
“I am grooming him for greatness and you know, you don’t want to just take a silly fight. As I said it doesn’t look good on the record does it when it just says ‘loss.’”
With a line through Hunt’s name and Toowoomba’s Spark officially taking the vacancy, attention now turns back to Newcastle.
Rushton finished with words of praise for both fighters after the mad rush to save the event, particularly the old rival.
“Interesting fight, I think Tim Tszyu wins the fight but kudos to Steve Spark for taking that fight on short notice,” he concluded.
“He (Tszyu) is unquestionably the best Super Welter in the country, I don’t think there’s any question about that at the moment.
“I’m just dumbfounded as to how come the Zerafa camp are pulling out of this. They’ve wanted this fight for so long, I’m just gobsmacked. I just don’t get it.”
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