Tszyu v Zerafa: Tips, Odds and Expert Preview

Tszyu v Zerafa is one of the most hotly anticipated Australian boxing bouts in recent memory and our Boxing Analyst is on hand to provide his tips and expert preview.

Taking place in Newcastle on Wednesday 7 July, Tim Tszyu v Michael Zerafa sees Tszyu put his 18-0 undefeated record on the line. Although not undefeated, Zerafa also owns an impressive resume, including a win over Jeff Horn less than two years ago.

Our Boxing Analyst has assessed each fighter’s style, strengths and weaknesses to determine the winner of this fight, as well as their tip. Get the best odds on the Betfair Exchange.

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The favourite

This week features the return of two of Australia’s most recognizable names in the sport of boxing, as Tim Tszyu and Michael Zerafa both put a belt on the line in a showdown that has international implications in the 154lb/69.8kg division.

The favored fighter in this matchup, Tim Tszyu is fresh off a rousing 5th round stoppage victory over Dennis Hogan, an experienced fighter with names such as Jermall Charlo and Jaime Munguia on his resume. So far unbeaten as a professional, Tszyu has quietly dismantled his competition with relative ease, amassing victories over Denton Vassell and Jeff Horn prior to picking apart Hogan three months ago.

Tim, the son of former world champion Kostya, has rapidly developed as a young professional and despite owning only 18 bouts in his career thus far has displayed a maturity and skill refinement that may put him in the elite bracket. With talent such as Erickson Lubin, Egidijus Kavaliauskas, and Jermell Charlo at the top of the division, it remains to be seen if Tszyu has what it takes to be as dominant and successful a world champion as his father once was.

Stylistically best described as a boxer-puncher, Tim Tszyu is a hybrid of sorts, capable of pressuring wounded foes and turning on the heat as well as he is boxing behind a jab and stable foot movement. Tszyu has found success with his diverse offence, often attacking to both the head and the body with an array of strong lead-hand punches. His simple but effective footwork coupled with his active lead hand allows him to corral opponents and position himself much better for future offensive surges. In fact, he sometimes reminds me of an aging boxing superstar by the name of Gennady Golovkin.

While he is still early in his professional career, Tszyu has displayed a strong handle of the fundamentals and his rather “basic” – that is to say, it lacks some of the risk and flash that some styles are known for -style has proven drastically effective in chopping down his opponents. 14 of Tszyu’s 18 opponents as a professional were, in fact, were chopped down so hard they couldn’t get back up.

the underdog

Michael Zerafa is no stranger to success either though, having snatched the vacant WBA Oceania title with a quick first-round stoppage victory over long time veteran Anthony Mundine only three short months ago. Zerafa specifically requested this bout with Tim Tszyu and believes he has what it takes to take the zero from Tszyu’s record, even going so far as to say that Tszyu is “scared” heading into this matchup.

Bad blood boiling up aside, the Melbourne-born Zerafa has been making the rounds in recent years at the championship level, squaring off with Kell Brook and splitting a pair of historic, Fight-of-the-Year-candidate bouts with Jeff Horn, as well.

Nicknamed “Pretty Boy”, Michael Zerafa is more than willing to make a bout ugly. A gritty, tough, but ultimately hittable and vulnerable risk-taker of a fighter, Zerafa is a mixed bag of give and get. Brought to his limit in his two bouts against Jeff Horn (one of which he stopped Horn in the ninth round, the other he lost a majority decision after 10 brutal, back and forth rounds), Zerafa is willing to exchange with anyone willing to do the same, for better or worse.

Possessing rather underrated technical prowess, particularly offensively, Zerafa is a bit of a front running force inside the ring. While he does tend to have his best success in the first half a bout, he tends to hit a wall and slow down after the 5th or 6th rounds have commenced. Call it a byproduct of his exciting and aggressive style, but at the end of the day, it may prove to be point of exploitation for the young Tim Tszyu.

the upshot

As I’ve touched on earlier, I am an appreciator of the offensive efforts that Tim Tszyu makes to the body, and I believe that his propensity for busting up the midsection will serve him greatly against a fighter with questionable long-term endurance. Not only that, but there is something to be said about Zerafa’s tendency, and willingness, to engage in a slugfest whether or not it necessarily benefits him.

Against a sharp, powerful fighter like the Sydney-born Tszyu, Zerafa may find himself absorbing an abundance of punishment without many openings for retaliation. Assuming that we see the best of Tim Tszyu against Michael Zerafa, fireworks, and an exciting slugfest built on top of genuine animosity will surely unfold. Down the stretch though, it will likely be Tim Tszyu wearing down and punishing Zerafa, with a potential stoppage around the 7th round, if we were to feel a bit froggy.

betting strategy

BACK — Tszyu by KO/TKO/DQ

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