Tim Tszyu hasn't ruled out a fight with Michael Zerafa in the future despite the Melbourne boxer's withdrawal from their scheduled bout, saying the fiasco had left him angry and still wanting a piece of the Victorian.
Tszyu, who has been in Newcastle in NSW's Hunter Valley, for a number of days preparing for the fight at Newcastle Entertainment Centre on Wednesday night, said Zerafa's withdrawal a week out had come as a surprise.
"It was a bit shocking at first, I didn't believe it," he said.
"I thought they were just talking it up and it was an ego thing.
"Never did I even consider that he would pull out."
The 26-year-old said Zerafa's withdrawal was bitterly disappointing given the duo had developed a rivalry over the past few years.
He said Zerafa had let down Australian fight fans, who "wanted to see this fight" and "see him get floored".
"There is a bit of anger in there, a lot of anger actually," Tszyu admitted.
"I've been preparing well, preparing hard for this fight and I really wanted to take this guy out.
"It's been a long build up, a couple of years in the making.
"So there was a lot of anticipation for this particular moment and I was only one week out from getting my hands on him.
"I still do want to get my hands on him, just for the fact that he has made me angry.
"I'm not happy, I'm quite frustrated, so I do want to get my hands on him.
"But we'll see, we will have to sit down with the team later on and see what we do."
IN OTHER NEWS:
The Zerafa camp cited concerns about the COVID-19 situation in NSW for withdrawing, a reason promoter No Limit Boxing has slammed.
No Limit's George Rose said on Thursday his company had gone "above and beyond" what they needed to do for Zerafa's camp to "get here safely, participate safely and get home safely".
He said a bio-security expert had been brought in to oversee the plans, the NSW and Victorian governments had offered support and a charter flight was at the ready.
"A whole lot of work went into it and to know that it was a waste is disappointing," he said.
"There was excuses flying in week-in, week-out.
"We just kept answering their problems and finding solutions for everything they had an issue with.
"Very unprofessional, I think, and as a promotional company we will never work with them again."
Tszyu, the son of Aussie boxing legend Kostya, said he would now shift his focus to 24-year-old replacement Steve Spark of Toowoomba (12-1; 11 KOs).
"My attention has completely disappeared from Zerafa," he said.
"I've got one bloke in my mind right now and in one week, we punch on.
"He's talented, he's dangerous and he's coming in with that winning mentality that there's nothing to lose.
"That always provides a dangerous fight when you've got someone coming in with that mentality.
"But these are the things you have to adapt to in boxing, it's all part of the experience, it's all part of the journey.
"I'll switch the whole Zerafa thing off, he is now in the past."