Coming off a statement victory against Carlos Ocampo (35-3, 23KO) last Sunday, Tim Tszyu (23-0, 17KO) looks set for a highly anticipated showdown with Undisputed Light Middleweight Champion Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19KO). However, despite being the more active of the two, mainstream boxing fans still question whether the Aussie will have enough for the champion.
Tszyu and Charlo were originally scheduled to fight for the throne back in January, but it was called off after the Houston native injured his hand during sparring.
At that time, there was skepticism amongst the boxing community about Tszyu’s resume and how proven he truly was at the top level, with even Charlo’s previous opponent Brian Castaño questioning if the Aussie was ready for a title fight.
At the post-fight presser for his fight with Charlo back in May 2022, Castaño voiced his opinion about Tszyu’s title fight chances at that time.
“He’s a great fighter” Castaño said, “but he’s probably not ready for the Charlos, he should probably face another opponent before that even though he looked great when he beat Terrell Gausha”.
At that time, Tim Tszyu had recently made his US debut, picking up a unanimous decision victory against former title challenger Terrell Gausha. Despite coming out on top, Tszyu did not make the statement he wanted, as he was shockingly knocked down in the first round.
This moment made the higher-tier fighters dismiss him as a legitimate threat.
After the aforementioned hand injury forced Charlo out of the fight, Tszyu decided to remain active as he took a fight with former world champion Tony Harrison, the only man to have beaten the champion, who was also ranked in the top six at the time.
Throughout the fight Tszyu dominated his American counterpart, applying his trademark high-paced forward pressure which Harrison simply did not have an answer for before knocking his opponent out in brutal fashion in the ninth round.
This was extremely different from Harrison’s two fights with Charlo, where he was given a lot more room and time to operate.
Although he came into the fight as the betting favourite, fans were blown away by Tszyu’s dominance against a man who was his hardest fight to date.
Tszyu’s next and latest fight would come up against Carlos Ocampo, another tough opponent who had been in the ring with the very best in the sport. “The Soultaker” would once again live up to his nickname, by dispatching Ocampo in 77 seconds.
Tszyu landed a huge right hand in the opening 35 seconds before proceeding to knock his opponent down twice.
The loss for Ocampo would be the second time he had been stopped in his professional career, the first time being against pound for pound superstar Errol Spence Jr.
Ocampo’s only other loss was to number two-ranked Sebastian Fundora, who took him to a decision.
After these fights, the perception of Tim Tszyu changed, fans started to recognise that the Aussie is truly a world-class fighter and a massive threat to Charlo’s undisputed status.
In the build-up to the Ocampo fight, former World Welterweight Champion and broadcaster Shawn Porter praised Tszyu for his activity
“Right now, Tim is probably the best functional fighter in the world,” Porter told the media.
“…He’s being consistent and he is keeping the work there in front of everybody, you can’t deny Tim
“Two fresh performances this year and looking for another one near the fall, that’s great.”
Porter also stated that he believed that a fight between Tszyu and Charlo could very well be an even encounter.
“A year ago, I would have said that Charlo wins that fight easy,” Porter said.
“After seeing his fight against Tony [Harrison] I say still going to be a really hard fight for both fighters but I think Charlo is going to win.
“Now with him being busy, keeping that work rate up, riding the waves of being consistently successful, this fight is going to get harder for Charlo month after month.”
“…It may even be 50/50 now”
It is safe to say that over the past four months, Tim Tszyu has demonstrated the elite skills and mentality to hang at the top of boxing’s Light Middleweight division, as he continues to silence the doubters.
If Tszyu was to defeat Charlo, he will accomplish the same feat that his father did nearly 22 years ago. However despite having the upper hand in terms of activity, it is still going to be a very tough task.
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