On the day his undisputed world title fight was made official, Tim Tszyu got a taste of the bright lights on offer in the US sports scene.
The Aussie took in the action at Los Angeles’ SoFi Stadium as the Rams hosted the Las Vegas Raiders in the NFL.
Tszyu was invited down onto the field pre-game where he met with injured Rams star and reigning Super Bowl MVP Cooper Kupp, exchanging jerseys with the wide receiver.
MORE: Tszyu punching above his weight to prepare for Charlo
It’s the type of thing the 28-year-old will have to get used to if he defeats Jermell Charlo to win all four belts in the super-welterweight division when they meet on January 29 (Jan. 28 in the US).
“It was cool. He had this good energy about him,” Tszyu said of Kupp, explaining they bonded over the frustration of injury layoffs.
“He was really supportive.
“We just shared the same experiences as athletes. It’s good to just share what it’s like on the sidelines.”
That moment came just hours after organisers confirmed Tszyu would be challenging Charlo for the title at the Michelob Ultra Arena at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and not the MGM Grand Garden Arena as had been rumoured.
Tszyu’s legendary father Kostya had arguably the two biggest nights of his career at the MGM – winning his first world title there in 1995 before returning in 2001 for his magnum opus, knocking out Zab Judah to unify the super-lightweight division.
Presale 🎟️ go on sale Monday 12/12 at 10am PT with code BOXING at https://t.co/ON6ti60bgh. pic.twitter.com/7wuTOfzyqW
— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) December 9, 2022
That’s not to say the family don’t have history at the Mandalay Bay – he won the WBA title over Sharmba Mitchell and defended his belts against Ben Tackie at the venue.
It’s all the same to Tim however.
“It’s in Vegas, that’s all I wanted – Vegas, the big bright lights,” Tszyu said.
“I know the venue very well. It’s the only hotel in Vegas I actually stay at, there’s no surprises there. It’s kind of like a second home.
“Dad fought there for a couple of world titles and won. I’ll be doing the same on January 28th.”
If Tszyu can pull off the victory, his star will rise on the international stage just as it has on home soil in recent years.
While he’s still forging his own name stateside, Tszyu has been stopped by fans on occasion since arriving in LA almost two weeks ago.
“When we went to Venice Beach, there were a few guys coming up. It was surprising actually,” he said.
“But there is something about this place, America.
“The eyeballs come in, the magnitude of the moment. It all plays a part.”
Should it be Tszyu’s hand raised at the end of the bout, he may be doing more than a photo op in a 70,000-seat stadium one day.
“Baby steps, baby steps but that’s the plan, that’s the goal,” he said when asked whether he’d like a stadium fight.
“I think that’s the ultimate goal.”