Despite being an unknown commodity stateside, Tim Tszyu had successfully worked his way from the ground up. His reward? A showdown against current undisputed junior middleweight kingpin, Jermell Charlo.

Although the stripes on his vest indicated that he was next in line, the pause button was hit on Tszyu’s championship moment. With Charlo breaking his left hand in two places, the truculent star was forced into the medical tent, leaving Tszyu without a dance partner.

Anxious for his own shot at Charlo, Tony Harrison quickly rose his hand. While originally disappointed, Tszyu readily accepted a matchup against Harrison. To sweeten the pot, the WBO interim crown was placed on the line.

From the moment Tszyu (22-0, 16 KOs) inked his name on the dotted line, an indelible smirk was plastered onto the face of Harrison. In addition to believing that Tszyu’s experience paled in comparison to his own, the 32-year-old former champion revealed that the Australian native was nothing more than a “basic” fighter.

Having internalized Harrison’s criticism, Tszyu was callous in his approach on March 12th, brutally stopping the Detroit native in the ninth round. When approached with the opportunity to analyze Tszyu’s abilities following his defeat, Harrison (29-4-1, 21 KOs) refused to issue a mea culpa. Instead, he doubled down.  

“He’s still basic,” said Harrison to several reporters. “He just beat me.”

In part, Harrison’s initial analysis stemmed from Tszyu’s U.S. debut. First up on his road to proving himself was longtime veteran contender, Terrell Gausha. Regardless of being pegged as a substantial favorite heading in, Tszyu got off to a nightmarish start as he was floored in the opening round. But, in spite of his inauspicious beginning, the 28-year-old would go on to score a unanimous decision win.

After watching his rival struggle, Harrison began foaming at the mouth. Nevertheless, the rambunctious contender admits that he may have put too much stock into Tszyu’s shaky performance. Following nine hard-fought rounds with the newly crowned interim titlist, Harrison acknowledges that the fighter he ultimately swapped fists with was completely different from what he was expecting.

“He’s definitely a lot sharper than I saw in his last fight. That goes down to his training and trainers. He’s improved, he’s an improved fighter from the Terrell Gausha fight. He’s sharp, he’s sharp.”