Boxers Jeff Horn (left) and Tim Tszyu poses for a photo onstage during a Boxing media opportunity in Sydney, Tuesday, February 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING
Boxers Jeff Horn (left) and Tim Tszyu poses for a photo onstage during a Boxing media opportunity in Sydney, Tuesday, February 11, 2020. (AAP Image/Joel Carrett) NO ARCHIVING

Lewis: Better than Tszyu, Horn after six fights

As Jeff Horn and Tim Tszyu fight to become Australia's top boxer, the fella who might be that himself is quietly bunkered down at the MGM Grand, Las Vegas.

Understanding Daniel Lewis, he gave Tszyu the only loss of his amateur career.

Just as prior to the 2012 Olympics, this tattooed Sydneysider also proved so strong as the sparring partner for Horn, one official suggested afterwards it should be him on the plane to London instead.

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Daniel Lewis with the world’s No.1 ranked boxer Terence Crawford.
Daniel Lewis with the world’s No.1 ranked boxer Terence Crawford.

 

"So I'll fight either of those guys - and today," Lewis tells The Daily Telegraph from the world's fight capital.

"I know right now, they're both getting all the attention.

"And that's fine because both Jeff Horn and Tszyu, they've been fighting professionally for years.

"But me, I haven't even been at this 12 months.

"Yet even after six fights, I'm already at their level. So it won't be a problem.

"I'm ready for either one right now."

Yet first, there's the little matter of fighting on one of the biggest boxing events of 2020.

Despite only making his professional debut last March - and being in "a dark, dark place" only 18 months ago - Lewis has been hand-picked to appear on the undercard of Sunday's WBC heavyweight title blockbuster between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury.

 

Daniel Lewis at Southside Boxing Gym. Picture: Brett Costello
Daniel Lewis at Southside Boxing Gym. Picture: Brett Costello

 

Unbeaten in all six appearances, the 26-year-old Londonderry super welterweight will square off against towering American southpaw Sebastian Fundora (13-1) - a rival who at 197cm, stands a whopping 19cm taller.

So determined is Lewis to succeed on a card being beamed to millions globally, he's not only arrived in Las Vegas two weeks early to prepare, but shelled out to use undefeated American southpaw Ardreal Holmes (11-0) for sparring.

More than announcing himself to American fight fans, this resurrected Aussie will also continue his most unlikely of fightbacks from a past that, less than 18 months ago, had him 30kg overweight, battling depression and driving a quarry excavator.

 

Jeff Horn and Tim Tszyu. Picture: AAP/Joel Carrett
Jeff Horn and Tim Tszyu. Picture: AAP/Joel Carrett

 

"Oh, I've definitely been through some dark, dark times," Lewis said.

"And even when I think about it now over here, I get emotional.

"Because I was a completely different person back then.

"Lost my way, big time.

"So now to be here this weekend, it's crazy."

Apart from having a small contingent of family in the MGM Garden Arena crowd, the undefeated Aussie will also have legendary Aussie boxing trainer Johnny Lewis in his corner.

While trained by Graham Shaw, the man who helped Sydney middleweight Daniel Geale to WBA (Super), IBF and IBO titles, Lewis (no relation) will also fly in this week to add his own years of experience to the tight-knit team.

"And I'm so grateful to all the guys I have behind me," the young fighter said.

"We just want to challenge the best and be on the biggest cards.

"So if that's in Australia, great. If not, we're going to keep fighting here in America until I can get that world title opportunity."