Tszyu: The judge?s view
By STEVE SPINKS
JOHN Wright travelled to the United States of America last week to do a job that, in the end, he didn't need to do.
Wright, from Lennox Head, was one of three judges for the Kostya Tszyu-Sharmba Mitchell IBF world junior welterweight title fight last Sunday.
But the punching prowess of the Russian-born Australia-based powerhouse was too much for the American, with the referee stopping the fight in the third round, which meant Wright and his two fellow judges were not required.
"The atmosphere was electric," Wright said.
"The venue, the Arizona State Hockey Centre, was just a beautiful venue.
"He (Tszyu) lost the first round on all three judges 10-9, but after the first knockdown (second round) Sharmba didn't recover.
"Kostya got him right on the button."
According to Wright, Mitchell wasn't too interested in the fight after the first knockdown.
"I knew Kostya would win after the second round," he said.
"Sharmba didn't want to go in and do too much after the knockdown.
"But I didn't think it would be that quick."
The Lennox Head local said the glitz and glamour of a world title fight in the United States was far different from anywhere else in the world.
"Oh, yeah there's film stars and heaps of celebrities," Wright said.
"Mike Tyson was there and he got a huge cheer from the crowd."
In fact, Wright got to chat with Tyson and found him to be a perfect gentleman.
"Geez, you wouldn't have thought butter would melt in his mouth," he laughed.
There has been plenty of talk about Tszyu's retirement, but Wright believes the 35-year-old has plenty of fights left in him.
"I guess it depends on the yourself, but there are fighters still fighting in their 40s," he said.
"It depends on how hungry and fit he is, but I have no doubt he has a few fights left in him."
One of the fights Wright would like to see is Tszyu v Cory Spinks, the undisputed welterweight division champion.
"He (Tszyu) could do it," Wright said.
"He'd probably be stronger at that weight because he wouldn't have to waste to lose weight.
"Spinks is also the same style of fighter as Sharmba."
As for Wright, he will now await another bout in which he is needed ... or not needed.