Vergil Ortiz Jr has said it before and he’ll say it again: he wants Tim Tszyu.
The 25-year-old Ortiz 20-0 (20) returned to the ring with a first-round knockout of Frederick Lawson 30-4 (22) in Las Vegas on Saturday night following 17-months on the sidelines due to multiple health issues.
Working behind a stiff jab, Ortiz stiffened the 34-year-old Ghanaian’s legs midway through the opening frame and backed him onto the ropes where he went to work attacking the body and head.
Lawson covered up and didn’t seem to be particularly hurt when referee Tony Weeks stepping in to halt the contest at the 2:33 mark.
“I think that he got saved,” said Ortiz, who was having his first fight at junior middleweight debut after previously campaigning as a welterweight. “I was hurting him with all the jabs. I wasn’t really putting anything behind it… I love to fight. I wish I could have kept going. I need the rounds.
“I’m ready for anyone out there. It feels like I’m back to doing what I usually do. This is my calling, this is what I live for.”
Ortiz called out Australian WBO junior middleweight champion Tim Tszyu 24-0 (17) in the ring after the fight.
“There’s a lot of fighters that I want to fight and I know people would love to see this fight so Tim Tszyu – with all respect – I would love to fight you,” Ortiz said.
“I think you’re a hell of a fighter and let’s make it happen. It’s all business. I’m a competitive person. I want to fight the best.”
Ortiz’s promoter Oscar De La Hoya chimed in, saying that they “will even go to Australia to fight Tim Tszyu”.
Tszyu, the eldest son of International Boxing Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, was quick to respond to the challenge on social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Welcome to the ’54 club. I’m always keen for a modern day classic,” the 29-year-old Australian posted.
In the week leading up to the Lawson fight, Ortiz said he is ready for any of the big names in and around his weight class, including Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford, Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr, Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis, Jermell Charlo and Tszyu.
“People are probably going to try to target me now because they don’t think that I’m 100% anymore,” Ortiz said to The Sporting News. “And let them think that, I don’t care. They can think what they want. They can come find out.
“I might have to do some talking after my fight. I might say a thing or two to get out of my comfort zone because I just want to fight the best so I can prove that I’m the best.
“I’ll fight anyone that has a pedigree. Whether that is Spence, Crawford, Ennis, Tszyu or Charlo. All of those names that sound like a threat excite me. That’s what I want.”