The Courier-Mail

TSZYU TO GET NO.1 NOD

Young star surges to top rank

- JAMIE PANDARAM

TIM Tszyu has issued a chilling warning to his super-welterweig­ht rivals after rising to No.1 in the world rankings.

“I’m getting stronger.”

When the WBO unveils their latest rankings next week, Tszyu will be installed as the No.1 contender to champion Brian Castano.

The 26-year-old Tszyu is coming off a first-round drilling of Kiwi Bowyn Morgan, finishing the fight with an overhand right that sent his opponent off his feet, but declared his next opponent, Dennis Hogan, will feel more force.

“I’ll be bigger and stronger in my next fight, that’s for sure,” Tszyu said.

“I’m already feeling it, I can feel it in my punches during my sparring, everything is on track.

“I’m growing, weight cuts are going to be harder of course, but I’m growing and getting bigger and stronger.

“Everything I’ve been doing is the same, but we’re just increasing the load.

“Instead of running a certain amount of kilometres I can run more now, I can do more within my rounds now, everything is increasing in my body.”

Tszyu (17-0, 13KO) will be in line for Castano’s belt should he defeat

Hogan (28-3-1, 7KO) on March 31 in Newcastle.

“I haven’t reached the goal yet, the No.1 position is good, but not good enough,” Tszyu said.

“The ultimate is to be the champ. “It’s definitely a tick off the bucket list, something that many people dream about.

“To be in a position where I’m this close to having the belt around my waist, everything is real close now.

“The title is next, there’s only position up.

“Before it was jumping up positions, now it’s just one, it’s so close, it makes me want to work even harder.

“I’m in the No.1 position now, I will fight whoever, whenever for a world title. No one is going to be standing in my way.”

Tszyu is No.3 with the IBF, No.7 with the WBA, and No.11 with the WBC in the 69.9kg weight division.

The fight against Hogan was in danger of being scrapped after the Irish-born Queensland­er injured his nose during sparring.

It later emerged Hogan’s camp had requested the fight be delayed, but when that proposal was rejected and rival fighters were contacted, they agreed to the March 31 date.

“I don’t think there’s anything going on, I think he needs more time,” Tszyu said.

TITANS dynamo AJ Brimson insists he will be back even faster and more dangerous in 2021 after overcoming a serious foot injury that derailed his State of Origin debut.

Brimson will make his first appearance of the season in a trial game for Gold Coast against New Zealand in Lismore tonight.

It will also be the first time star Gold Coast recruits David Fifita and Tino Fa’asuamaleau­i appear for their new club.

Brimson will pull on his favoured No.1 jersey after making a full recovery from a Lisfranc foot injury suffered in Queensland’s Origin I win against the Blues in Adelaide last November.

The injury ruled Brimson out of the remainder of his debut Origin series and he underwent surgery to fix what is a potentiall­y serious problem.

Some players have missed up to a year of football following Lisfranc injuries, but Brimson’s recovery has so far been relatively fast and smooth.

The electric fullback relies heavily on his speed, footwork and evasive skills, as evidenced by his remarkable run of form in the back end of the 2020 season after recovering from a fractured back.

Brimson, 22, scored seven tries in nine games last season and said he wants to build on that form, not try to match it, after his injury.

“I’m feeling good, the foot has come along well, it has been feeling 100 per cent for the last couple of weeks,” he said.

“I wanted to get a trial in so hopefully I can have a good game leading into the season.

“I haven’t done any particular testing, but in terms of training I feel the exact same.

“It was a shorter pre-season so I need to double down on skills. But in terms of physical ability, I feel the same.

“I’m going to try and come back faster – I will be fine.”

Brimson scored a try in his Origin debut but missed the following two games as Queensland claimed one of the great upset series wins.

Maroons jerseys will be up for grabs again this year under new coach Paul Green and Brimson said he wanted to improve on his sensationa­l 2020 performanc­es.

“It was not ideal but we got the win and won the he series, it could have been a lot worse,” he said. .

“I want to play ay consistent footy y and as many games as I can for the club.

“I will try to build off last year.

“Hopefully I can play like I did in 10 games last year r for 24 games this year.” ”

Titans coach Justin Holbrook will field close to a fullstreng­th team against the Warriors at Oakes Oval.

Broncos recruit Fifita will start in the back-row while Melbourne Storm premiershi­p star Fa’asuamaleau­i has secured the No. 13 jersey ahead of utility Tyrone Peachey.

Jamal Fogarty and Kevin Proctor were announced as co-captains for the 2021 NRL season on Friday.

MELBOURNE’S search for Craig Bellamy’s replacemen­t continues after ex-Storm assistant Adam O’Brien resigned as the Newcastle Knights coach for a further two seasons.

O’Brien had been linked to the Storm as Bellamy y weighs g up his next t career move post 2021 at potentiall­y Brisbane or Cronulla in a coaching director role.

As tempt- ing as a return to Melbourne’s lb successful system would be for O’Brien (pictured), he said he feels like he is building something special in Newcastle. It’s why he has committed to the Knights until at least the end of the 2024 season.

He said he was excited to build towards a sustained period of success for the Knights.

“I’ve been really pleased with our overall progressio­n since I joined the club back in November 2019,” he said. “We identified key areas to strengthen, we developed a strategy to make that transition and then targeted the right people to execute those plans.”

 ??  ?? Tim Tszyu is making his mark on the boxing world. Picture: Joel Carrett
Tim Tszyu is making his mark on the boxing world. Picture: Joel Carrett
 ??  ?? Titans speedster AJ Brimson and (left) watching on at Maroons training after injuring his foot. Pictures: Getty Images,
Nigel Hallett
Titans speedster AJ Brimson and (left) watching on at Maroons training after injuring his foot. Pictures: Getty Images, Nigel Hallett
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