Tim Tszyu has been granted a shot at the WBO super welterweight world title, with a bout against Tony Harrison confirmed for March 12 in Australia.
The 28-year-old was originally scheduled to face undisputed champion Jermell Charlo in Las Vegas this month, but the latter was forced out of the fight due to a hand injury suffered in training.
Tszyu had relocated to the US in order to prepare for the world title shot, with his team seeking a new opponent immediately after Charlo’s withdrawal.
One of the first men to publicly challenge the undefeated Tszyu was former world champion Harrison (29-3-1), who handed Charlo his only professional defeat back in 2018.
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The news broke early on Monday morning (AEDT) that Tszyu’s next bout would indeed be against Harrison, with the WBO ordering a title match between the pair as they are likely to force Charlo to vacate the belt.
DONE DEAL! Tim Tszyu (21-0, 15KO) 🇦🇺 will fight Tony Harrison (29-3-1, 21KO) 🇺🇸 Sunday 12 March at an Australian venue TBA. Tszyu is mandatory challenger for injured Jermell Charlo’s undisputed world title while former champ Harrison gave Charlo his only pro defeat #TszyuHarrison pic.twitter.com/pASCyz6yPl
— Ben Damon (@ben_damon) January 22, 2023
The path to gold for @Tim_Tszyu takes an unexpected turn.
The unbeaten super welterweight will face the only person to defeat Jermell Charlo on March 12.
— Aus-Boxing.com (@ausboxing) January 22, 2023
Tszyu (21-0) has defeated the likes of Aussie standouts Jeff Horn and Dennis Hogan on his path to world title glory, but hasn’t fought since his March 2022 victory over Terrell Gausha.
The upcoming interim title fight will be the first time Tszyu has fought in Australia in close to 18 months, with a venue yet to be confirmed.
The Daily Telegraph reports that the bout will likely take place in Sydney, Melbourne or Gold Coast.
Tszyu told the publication that he understands the risk involved, but is looking forward to the challenge and putting on a show in front of his adoring home fans.
“Every fight you take is all on the line, you’re one punch away from going back to the very bottom,” he said.
“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.
“I haven’t fought for almost a year and half in 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 [Harrison] 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.
“He 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.”