Nikita Tszyu has been branded “disgusting and disrespectful” after pushing ahead with a move to enter the ring last for his upcoming Australian title fight – an honour normally reserved for the reigning champion.
Only a week out from his hyped Pay-Per-View headliner at Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Fox Sports Australia can reveal Tszyu is under fire for attempting to make the nation’s super welterweight champ Dylan Biggs break from tradition and make his ring walk first, before the challenger.
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While Tszyu is the undeniable A-side – and the fighter around whom the card has been built – Biggs’ manager Brendon Smith has already stressed to promoters No Limit it must be his reigning champ who walks out second.
While Tszyu’s older brother Tim is now the WBO super welterweight king, and the siblings are together being discussed for a Las Vegas showcase next March, Smith stressed it did not change the fact that Biggs was the reigning No.1, and therefore must leave the dressing rooms last.
The manager has also asked No Limit to provide a list of the referee and three judges who will be sat ringside, saying: “Australia boxing is going to be on show so let’s hope we can get it right and that everything is done correctly”.
Team Tszyu, however, will push ahead with their plan to walk to the ring second, with the undefeated 25-year-old’s manager Glen Jennings saying simply: “Nikita will be coming out last”.
Yet when initially asked by Fox Sports Australia what was happening, Smith suggested he had already raised the issue with No Limit promoters Matt and George Rose but was yet to receive an answer.
“I only asked this question the other day,” said the man who has overseen a host of Aussie fight careers, including former lightweight champ Michael Katsidis.
“And I’m still waiting for an answer.
“But the bottom line is this, Dylan Biggs is the champion – he walks out second.
“Right throughout history, the champion has walked out second.
“That’s the way it has always been and Dylan has earned that right.
“So if we’re all really in this for the good of Australian boxing let’s get it right on the night.
“And I’m sure the Rose boys and the Tszyu camp will do that.”
But if they don’t?
“It would be so disrespectful of No Limit if they tried to pull that on the night,” Smith continued.
“And so disrespectful of Nikita Tszyu.
“Forget the head games, forget everything like that, Nikita has spent the entire build up to this fight saying how great it is for Australian boxing.
“So he will lose a lot of support if they try to pull that.
“Nobody wants to see that rubbish.
“It would be disrespectful.
“Disrespectful and disgusting.
“Dylan Biggs is the champion, Nikita Tszyu is the challenger.
“We will be walking out second.”
Yet when Team Tszyu was contacted for comment, Jennings said that while his fighter was extremely respectful of Biggs and what he has already achieved in his young career, it was Tszyu who remains the undeniable A side for this fight – and the man fans are coming to see.
Jennings also revealed it would not be the first time a Tszyu, as challenger, had walked out last – with Tim Tszyu receiving the same honour, he said, when fighting Joel Camilleri for the same Australian super welterweight title in 2019.
“Put simply, boxing is entertainment and Nikita Tszyu is the undeniable A-side,” the manager said.
“He’s the primary driver of this event, the reason everyone is coming to this fight.
“So it’s not about disrespecting Dylan Biggs, disrespecting the national title or anything like that.
“This is a Pay-Per-View event and Nikita is the Pay-Per-View star.”
Jennings also stressed it had happened before, continuing: “This isn’t anything new.
“When Tim fought Joel Camilleri for his Australian title, he also came out last.
“So we’ve already done it.
“This is just business for us.
“When you’re the A side and selling all the tickets that’s how it is.
“And we’d really love to see Dylan Biggs selling his own Pay-Per-Views one day himself if he’s successful enough.
“But that’s up to them, not us.”
Elsewhere, Smith confirmed he had also reached out to No Limit requesting to see who would be both officiating and judging the event to be held at Newcastle.
Asked if that meant there was a fear Biggs could not let a fight go to the judges in certain cases, Smith replied: “No, but it’s really important everyone does their job on the night.
“Australia boxing is going to be on show so let’s hope we can get it right and that everything is done correctly”.
While Biggs is the reigning Australian champion, Tszyu has already suggested it could be the 21-year-year-old Beaudesert fighter who could “crumble” under the bright lights of a Pay-Per-View headliner.
“Our fight is definitely a big one and it will be interesting to see how he deals with it,” Tszyu said over the weekend.
“I know with my first few fights on Main Event, when all the eyes were on me, it was quite nerve-racking.
“And it did take a while to get my groove on, to understand that atmosphere I was in.
“So we’ll see.”
Pushed on the issue, Tszyu continued: “Dylan seems like a cool, calm kid, so maybe it will have no impact on him.
“Still, it’s an interesting question because he has never experienced anything like this.
“Yes, he has fought on a DAZN card (against Mirko Pizzi, in 2022).
“But at the time he competed, the place was virtually empty.
“So he hasn’t felt the full energy of a crowd.
“And that’s different.
“Especially compared to fighting when nobody is really watching.
“It’s going to be a shock for Dylan and I don’t know how he will handle that.
“He will either rise to the occasion or crumble under the pressure … so we’ll see.”
Originally published as ‘Disgusting’: Nikita Tszyu ring walk controversy erupts over ‘disrespectful’ ploy