Light-welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu is set to sign a four-fight deal which would see him take on England’s Ricky Hatton and Oscar de la Hoya, according to reports in his homeland.
The Russian-born Australian will agree to an offer by top American promoter Murad Muhammad to see out his career with a quartet of blockbusting bouts – the first of which could be against Hatton at a stadium in Sydney.
Hatton’s promoter Frank Warren announced last week that a deal had been agreed with Vlad Wharton, Tszyu’s promoter who promised to try to convince his man to come to England to meet the Mancunian.
It seems, however, Hatton may be forced down under to get his shot at the IBF champion if reports from Australia are to be believed.
“I would love the chance to box against Oscar,” Tszyu told told the Daily Telegraph in Australia.
Tszyu, who is holidaying in Russia after receiving a sporting award and having a private audience with the country’s prime minister Vladimir Putin, added: “At this stage of my career, I only want to have the big fights to leave a legacy in the sport – and you can’t get much bigger than fighting Oscar de la Hoya.”
After a lengthy absence from the ring enforced by injury, Tszyu returned in style this year by knocking out the pretender to his crown Sharmba Mitchell.
After surging up through the weights in recent years, De La Hoya – along with Tszyu, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of their generation – recently announced his plans to drop to welter, his more natural weight.
“I would love Kostya Tszyu (as an opponent). He is definitely someone I want to fight,” de la Hoya was quoted as saying this week.
Australian trainer Johnny Lewis, Tszyu’s mentor, is confident his charge can handle a man four years his junior.
“If Kostya wants to take the fight I don’t think he would have any trouble with Oscar,” said Lewis.
“I always felt that when Oscar was moving up through the weight divisions he was avoiding Kostya as a junior-welterweight.
“This would give everybody the chance to see two of the all-time greats go head to head.”
Muhammad – who has promoted Larry Holmes, Roy Jones Jr and Manny Pacquiao – is offering Tszyu 14 million US dollars to promote his next four fights.
“I will make Kostya Tszyu, his manager and promoter richer and more famous than they could be with any other promoter,” said Muhammad.