Opinion: Tszyu v Inoue should be celebrated, not questioned

Surging Australian Super Welterweight, Tim Tszyu will face Japan's Takeshi Inoue on November 17, Photo: Main Event/Twitter

It’s official! Undefeated Super Welterweight Tim Tszyu (19-0, 15 KOs) has a fight with an International opponent lined up in the form of Japan’s Takeshi Inoue (17-1-1, 10 KOs). The announcement of Tszyu v Inoue on November 17 has been met with some criticisms from the Australian boxing public, though.

Much of the scepticism is to do with the profile and skill level of Inoue, who is currently ranked seventh by the WBO. This, of course, is the same governing body in which Tszyu is the number one contender.

To an extent, the argument is not without grounds.

It is true that the Japanese fighter has not been able to establish the same global acclaim as some of the other names thrown into the ‘Tim Tszyu sweepstakes,’

Following Tszyu’s third-round TKO of Steve Spark in July, a buzz was created by the mention of former World champions Liam “Beefy” Smith (29-3-1, 16 KOs) and American Tony Harrison (28-3-1, 21 KOs) for a potential next opponent.

Initially warm on the idea, Britain’s Smith has since changed direction and will fight fellow countryman Anthony Fowler in Liverpool next month.

Harrison, on the other hand, was involved in in-depth talks with Tszyu’s promoter, No Limit Boxing as late as this week. A match-up between this pairing was of particular interest, given that Harrison is the only man to defeat unified World champion Jermell Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs).

Frustration has also arisen due to the fact that Tszyu is the number one contender for the WBO title held by Brian Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs). With so many belts available in boxing, fans have become increasingly exhausted by the lack of recognition of the next fighter in line.

Calls from the Tszyu camp to meet the Argentinian champion have seemingly been ignored, but none of this is the fault of Castano.

After meeting the aforementioned Charlo in July for the title of undisputed champion, he walked away feeling that he deserved more than a controversial draw. Many boxing pundits agreed, believing that he won the fight outright.

Understandably then, Castano feels that he has unfinished business. As disappointing as this is for Tszyu, it is a justified path that the WBO champion is taking.

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What all of this shows, however, is that Tim Tszyu’s team is trying to garner a big fight. A challenge against a proven elite with star power.

Though it may seem that they have come up short this time, the test that Inoue will provide cannot be questioned.

A former World title challenger in his own right, Inoue lost a unanimous decision to Mexican knockout artist Jaime Munguia (37-0, 30 KOs) in 2019.

Despite being comfortably beaten on the scorecards, Inoue proved that he has what it takes to mix it with the best. In the bout, the 31-year-old showed he has an incredibly solid chin and willingness to advance and throw his powerful right hand.

Though this is only a snippet of what Inoue can do, we can expect that both of these attributes will be on full display in the meeting with Tszyu.

Although the prevailing wisdom is that the Australian will be too elusive for Inoue, any World ranked opponent should not be taken lightly.

For evidence, look no further than the performance of Filipino Joe Noynay in his July bout with the highly touted Liam Wilson in Newcastle.

Moreover, the inclination on the part of Tszyu to prove that he is worthy of his shot at glory should be admired.

If all goes according to plan, he will have fought five times between August 2020 and November 2021; once against a former World champion, twice against World title challengers.

While some may suggest that he did not fight the best versions of Jeff Horn and Dennis Hogan in that time frame, the fact that both are viewed as tough domestic tests for Tszyu does not change.

Had the scheduled fight with Michael Zerafa (28-4, 17 KOs) gone ahead in July, a rubber stamp would have been put on the notion that there is no challenge left on the Australian scene worthy of the 26-year-old.

Now he casts his eye to the International market where the risk intensifies.

Not only will Tszyu be fighting a World-class opponent, but his number one contender status will be up for grabs.

Being prepared to put everything he has worked so hard for on the line, is something that Australia’s boxing public should get behind.

“As a boxer, you’ve got to prepare yourself. You’ve got to have goals and aspirations to work for. I’ve always been a fighter that likes to fight. I don’t like to sit on my arse,” Tszyu told Ben Damon of Fox Sports.

In all, we as fans should be thankful for the current crop of surging fighters that we can call our own.

Whether it be Brock Jarvis signing with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Promotions or Heavyweight Demsey McKean training alongside Anthony Joshua, we are witnessing a wave of boxers who are not afraid of daring to be great.

Regardless of weight, gender or age, our fighters are taking their destiny into their own hands.

Tszyu v Inoue is yet another example of this and we should support it accordingly.

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About Liahm O'Brien 80 Articles
Liahm is a features writer based in Burnie, Tasmania. His writing focuses on the human side of combat sports, painting a full picture of the athletes we see from the stands or on our tv screens. In 2017, he was published in The Footy Almanac.

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