Tim Tszyu didn’t shy away from fighting the only opponent who has beaten Jermell Charlo before Tszyu could get his own shot at the fully unified 154-pound champion.
Tszyu, who will face former WBC champ Tony Harrison on March 12, told FOX Sports Australia on Monday that he is ready to “take them all out.”
Sydney’s Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs) could’ve taken a less challenging bout to get in some work while he waits for the injured Charlo to get healthy. He instead opted to fight Detroit’s Harrison (29-3-1, 21 KOs) for the WBO interim junior middleweight title at a venue to be announced in Australia.
The 28-year-old Tszyu, who is the WBO’s mandatory challenger for one of Charlo’s four championships, was supposed to challenge Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) this Saturday night at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas. Charlo-Tszyu was officially postponed on Christmas Eve because Charlo suffered a fractured left hand while training.
The 32-year-old Charlo might not be ready to fight until sometime this summer. Tszyu didn’t want to wait that long to return to the ring because he hasn’t boxed since last March 26, thus Tszyu’s team pushed for an interim championship clash.
“Every fight you take [it’s] all on the line,” Tszyu told FOX Sports Australia, which first reported Sunday that Tszyu will fight Harrison. “You’re one punch away from going back to the very bottom. It’s all on the line and a gamble, but this is what I do. This is boxing. It’s part of my career and I’m a fighter first.”
Harrison, 32, is ranked fourth by the WBO, three spots beneath the number one-ranked Tszyu.
England’s Liam Smith (33-3-1, 20 KOs) is ranked second by the WBO, but the former WBO junior middleweight champ was unavailable because he knocked out Chris Eubank Jr. (32-3, 23 KOs) in the fourth round of their middleweight match Saturday night at AO Arena in Manchester, England. Russia’s Bakhram Murtazaliev (21-0, 15 KOs) is ranked third by the WBO, but the mandatory challenger for Charlo’s IBF belt turned down an opportunity to fight Tszyu for the WBO interim title.
“[Harrison] was the next best available option,” Tszyu said. “I’m at that stage of my career that I really don’t care who is in front of me. I’m ready to take them all out.”
Whoever wins the Tszyu-Harrison bout is expected to battle Charlo in his following fight.
Harrison upset Charlo by unanimous decision to win the WBC super welterweight crown in December 2018 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Charlo knocked out Harrison in the 11th round of their rematch to take back his WBC belt in December 2019 at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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