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Tim Tszyu now faces Steve Spark on July 7, Michael Zerafa out

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Spark is coming off of an April unanimous decision over Jack Brubaker

Tim Tszyu Media Opportunity Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

Citing New South Wales’ recent uptick in COVID cases and the possibility of facing a two-week quarantine, Michael Zerafa has withdrawn from his July 7th grudge match with countryman Tim Tszyu. In his place steps 24-year-old Steve Spark, who was preparing for a fight in Queensland on the 24th.

Spark (12-1, 11 KO) hasn’t tasted defeat since his second pro fight, when he dropped a four-round majority decision to Baishanbo Nasiyiwula in the latter’s native China. He earned his biggest win to date in April, moving up from 140 to 147 to beat former Tszyu victim Jack Brubaker.

“I’ve dreamt about fighting Tim Tszyu and obviously this has come a little bit quicker than I expected but that’s a good thing. I’m fit and I’m ready and I’m coming to Newcastle to win. This is Cinderella Man, this is Rocky! This is my golden ticket. If I can go out there and dethrone the biggest name in Australian boxing then I’m right where I want to be.”

Tszyu (18-0, 14 KO), who’s established himself as a truly dangerous world-level contender by this point, was expected to dominate Zerafa and figures to be a far bigger favorite against a still-developing welterweight taking the fight on a week’s notice. At least he’s staying busy.

“Credit to Steve for taking this fight. He’s a dangerous fighter with a lot of power. 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.”