Australia’s Tim Tszyu is set to take the biggest risk of his outstanding young career, gambling a shot at superstar Jermell Charlo by taking on the only man to ever beat the now unified super welterweight king.
As first predicted by Fox Sports Australia in December, Tszyu is set to challenge for the interim WBO world title in Australia on Sunday, March 12.
Only weeks on from his unified championship showdown with Charlo being postponed — thanks to the champ suffering a broken hand — Tszyu has received his first blockbuster title shot against US star Tony Harrison.
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Tszyu’s younger brother Nikita will also fight on the card, at a venue yet to be announced, while his Hall of Fame father Kostya will be ringside as a spectator.
Back in 2018, Harrison beat Charlo for the WBC super welterweight title.
The Detroit native, who won via unanimous decision, lost the belt in his very next outing, however – with Charlo winning their rematch via 11th-round TKO.
Since then, the American has drawn with Bryant Perrella and won against Sergio Garcia to put himself back into a world title showdown, beating out fellow contender and undefeated Russian Bakhram Murtazaliev for the chance to face Tszyu.
The winner of the Australian title fight will face Charlo for all four straps later this year.
But as for suggestions Tszyu is taking a huge risk against Harrison, who is ranked No. 2 with the WBC and No. 3 by the WBO?
“Every fight you take is all on the line,” Tszyu said.
“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.
“He (Harrison) was the next best available option. 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.”
Harrison has a record of 29 wins, three losses and draw.
Of his victories, 21 have come via knock out.
Regardless, Tszyu insists he will have the edge in various areas against the American – including a boisterous home crowd advantage.
“I think Australia is going to erupt,” he said.
“I haven’t fought for almost a year and half back home and I know it’s going to be the biggest show yet.
“It’s a massive fight for Australia and a special moment in my career.
“I have so many passionate fans supporting and following me, so I guess he will feel a certain craziness about the atmosphere in Australia.
“But his biggest problem he’s running into isn’t the fans, it’s me.”
Harrison has always embraced the idea of facing off against Tszyu in Australia, telling reporters last year: “I want to go to Australia.
“Take me on a vacation. Let me travel across the world and fight somebody that ya’ll want me to fight, I’m cool with that.
“Let me see the kangaroos and rattlesnakes and s … like that, I want that. I want to fight him, but I want to fight him over there.”
No Limit Boxing CEO George Rose added: “It’s hard to believe it’s been two decades since fight fans last witnessed a Tszyu world title on Australian shores.
“But they won’t have to wait much longer.
“I visited Tim in the US for his training camp, so trust me when I tell you he’s ready to take
over the world by any means necessary.
“He’s in the best shape of his life, and now fighting back home for the first time since 2021 hungrier than ever.
“(But) Tim also knows this won’t be a walk in the park.
“He has a very dangerous man in front of him. Tony Harrison is the only man in the world to take down the undisputed champ in Jermell Charlo, so it’s a massive risk.”
The push to have Tszyu fight for an interim title on home soil began on Christmas Day, when Charlo first announced his break via social media.
Within 48 hours, WBO officials sent a letter to the champ warning that he needed to prove further evidence of his injury.
Refusal to do so, the directive continued, could see Charlo stripped of his title.
Almost immediately, Harrison and Murtazaliev emerged as contenders should Charlo be stripped or an interim title fight announced.
Eventually, it was the American who won out.
Tszyu, who has been training in the United States since November, will head home shortly to finish his camp in Sydney.
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