There are fears that Nikita Tszyu’s title fight against Dylan Biggs could be delayed due to a “standoff” between the two boxers on Wednesday night.
Tszyu’s camp and Biggs’ camp have traded barbs over which fighter walks out last in Newcastle in the lead-up to the fight, with neither side willing to take a backward step.
Traditional boxing protocol suggests Biggs, the defending champion, should walk out last, but Tszyu’s camp believe they should walk out last, given he is the headline act.
READ MORE: ‘Very strange’ coin toss accusation rocks India
READ MORE: Skipper in shock as South Africa’s curse continues
READ MORE: Boxer blasted for ‘terrible’ act in loss to Aussie
After Burns hit out saying, “The Tszyu name shouldn’t alter the basic rules of boxing”, Tszyu’s manager, No Limit Boxing chief George Rose, admitted he is fearing a stand off between the two fighters in the locker room.
”We’ve seen it before,” he said of the prospect of a standoff.
“Selfishly, I love entertainment. Nikita is an entertainer and the crowd will love him walking last.
“The crowd deserves to be entertained not only with the ability in the ring, but the theatrics leading up to it.”
Rose conceded that a lengthy standoff would “tarnish” the event.
“It’s not a question for the fighters to deal with, that’s for the promoters,” Tszyu said of the walkout drama.
“He (Burns) cares (who walks last). Let him wait it out. It’s up to him.
“It’s not something for the fighters to deal with, it’s the promoters. It’s their show. We’re their product. The promoters are the ones that are sponsoring the big events.”
The bad blood between the two fighters has been simmering in recent days, with Tszyu admitting he’s built up a “hatred” for his rival.
“I don’t hate him to the point where I’m going to get a voodoo doll and curse him with it, but there’s obviously a hatred because this man is trying to take your future away from you,” he said.
“That’s the way I see it. Anyone that is against you, there is a certain kind of hatred you have for them.”
Tszyu has been renowned for his dark personality, as highlighted by a promotional video labelled as “cringey” by his opponent.
“It wasn’t my idea (but) it was a very good representation of what my mind is like,” he said of the video.
“I feel like there’s a lot of dark areas and that’s how I feel a lot of the time.
“I’m sitting in a little dark room and I’m always thinking about these fights, pondering about these moments in my career and there’s this tunnel vision of my opponent that I’m ready to go for.”
Tszyu has some major shoes to fill as he attempts to chart the path travelled by his legendary father Kostya and his older brother Tim, but said he enjoys the pressure.
“I love that I’ve got this kind of pressure on me,” he said.
“It’s keeping me sharp and it makes every single moment that I get into the ring a life or death situation.
“Honestly, it feels like I’m a gladiator back in the Roman days where any mistake I make, it would basically mean death. So I can’t make any mistakes or else I die.
“That’s a beautiful thing to have in the back of your head.”