Seven weeks out from the biggest fight of his career, Tim Tszyu says he’s never felt this good.
Having learned from the mistakes of his last fight preparation, Tszyu is reaping the rewards from two key changes to his camp.
The first: Tszyu and his team have travelled to US a long way out from the bout, allowing him to get settled in well before showtime as well as spar with high-level opponents.
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Secondly, Tszyu has included a chef, Omar Iferd, as part of his small travelling party.
“My approach to boxing now is quite simple. You have to fuel yourself properly, it’s so important, that’s why we’ve got Omar onboard,” Tszyu tells Sporting News.
“It’s like fine dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but all healthy food so I can’t complain.”
It was a different story last time out for Tszyu, who struggled with illness and a tough weight cut when he fought Terrell Gausha in his US debut in March.
The 28-year-old said the combination of Iferd’s cooking and the training he’s done, which included two camps in Thailand, have him feeling a million bucks this time around.
“I’m never feeling fatigued or tired, I’m always ready and it plays a big part,” he said.
“I can’t even compare [to the last camp]. I don’t think I’ve felt this good even before the fight ever and we’re still six or seven weeks out.”
Iferd, who met Tszyu while working at a cafe in Sydney, joins Igor Goloubev, Tszyu’s trainer and uncle, in the tight travelling party.
The chef, who has been enjoying his native Morocco’s unlikely run to the World Cup semi finals while in Los Angeles, explained what he’s bringing to the table.
“We’re all very serious. Tim does his job, I do my job, the coach does his job,” Iferd told Sporting News.
“I’m a chef, I’ve got a fine dining background, I don’t give him poached chicken with a side of fries, for me it’s a dining experience.
“Also for his mental health. It’s nice when you’re eating healthy but also it’s gastronomic, mad presentation.”
Iferd’s presence on the trip is indicative of the lengths Tszyu is going to in order to defeat Jermell Charlo and become undisputed super-welterweight champion in Las Vegas on January 28 (Jan. 29 in Australia).
Tszyu said it’s not even a choice for him anymore.
“Boxing now is a part of me. I can’t wake up and say, ‘Oh, I feel tired, I feel sore.’ It just doesn’t work,” he said.
“Part of boxing is getting away and sacrificing. Time away allows me to be mentally ready for war.
“Getting away from home, getting away from my comfort zone, that’s the whole purpose of this trip. Just to be zoned in, one thing on my mind and that’s the fight.
“I love my family, I love being with my partner, with my dog, at home, it’s the best feeling for me and I can’t wait to get back home and experience and feel that way.
“You just accept it. This is what I do for a living and there’s going to be parts where we’re in our own little room by ourselves and that’s just part of it, that’s where growth happens.”