Newcastle fighter Darkon Dryden says Team Tszyu will pay for picking a fight on his wedding day, warning: “I was the toughest c*** on the school bus and I’m about to be the toughest c*** in this city”.
A 28-year-old slugger with four straight finishes, Dryden has vowed to shock the Australian fight game when he faces Nikita Tszyu in their hyped Super Saturday showcase on October 8.
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Despite going into the Newcastle headliner as an outsider, Dryden has promised to be a “live dog” for a fight which, he reveals, the Tszyu crew have been chasing since he married wife Christine seven months ago.
In fact, the fighter famous for wearing a Hannibal Lecter mask on his walk to the ring says the group actually challenged him while knowing he was still celebrating.
“So I know what they’re doing,” says the father-of-two.
“First time they (Team Tszyu) offered me a fight, I was at my wedding.
“It was back in March.
“I was up in Port Macquarie, the day after getting married, and I’d just put a beer photo on my Instagram story.
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“Then all of a sudden ‘ring, ring’ — I get a phone call asking if I want to fight Nikita Tszyu in 30 days.
“I said there was no way I could make the weight in that time.
“Wasn’t even near a gym.
“But that just shows that they think they’re picking their mark.
“Even now this time, they’ve given me six weeks.
“And I know they’re hoping it means I fatigue late.
“But I’ve been working my arse off.
“I’ve told them six weeks is all I need to be a live dog.”
Only recently, Tszyu’s manager Glen Jennings accused several Australian super welterweights of ducking his young charge, who is undefeated in all three appearances as a pro.
“And that says a lot about our division,” shrugged Dryden, a proud Newcastle product.
“But when they called me (a second time), I took the fight.
“I was on the lounge, eating Red Rock chilli chips. But I stood straight up and accepted.
“I was always the toughest c*** on the school bus and I’m about to be the toughest c*** in the city.”
Which, undeniably, is a line on which you can sell this fight.
Quizzed on why he thinks the Tszyu crew handpicked him, Dryden continues: “They’re hoping I’ll fatigue late.
“They are going to come out and box early, get to the body and then eventually try to take me late.
“But I’ll be ready.
“And I actually think they’re in for a shock.
“I know Nikita’s got a big name, but in Newcastle I’ve got just as big a name. I reckon I could get the bigger cheer.”
Despite making his professional debut in 2016, and chalking up three wins within six months, Dryden would then disappear for four years thanks largely to a serious back injury.
“I was training for a fight and felt a twinge while doing power punches with my dad,” he recalls.
“But I just kept going.
“Thought I’d get it fixed after the fight.”
Yet things quickly got worse.
“The pain went from my back to my hips,” the fighter continues.
“It got to the point where I was taking Valium and Endone just to do sparring.
“Then eventually I went to get up for work one morning and couldn’t get out of bed.
“Eventually it was discovered that I’d fractured the L1 in my vertebrae.
“And there is no quick fix for a back unfortunately.”
So long was Dryden sidelined however, he began to question if he would ever fight again.
“It was so depressing,” he recalls.
“And I began hating the sport.
“Because everything that’s happening now, I’ve already pictured all this in my head.
“Biggest name, biggest stage … and I’m ready to crack on.
“That’s why I was so depressed during that period, I had already pictured (where I could get to).”
As part of the upcoming Super Saturday event, promoters No Limit are offering a $10,000 bounty for anyone who can earn a highlight reel knockout.
Asked how he would spend said cash if he finishes Tszyu, Dryden laughed: “I’m gunna buy myself some Bitcoin”.