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Will Tim Tszyu fight Jermell Charlo? Possible title fight in boxing star’s future following Tony Harrison clash

Before Tim Tszyu can face off against undisputed super-welterweight champion Jermell Charlo, he first has to overcome American contender Tony Harrison at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia on March 11 (March 12 in Australia).

Should all go well against the crafty Harrison – who is the only man to have defeated Charlo (UD 12) – then negotiations for a Charlo-Tszyu matchup should be completed shortly thereafter.

The 28-year-old Tszyu has been the WBO’s mandatory challenger since August 2021. At that point in time, Argentina’s Brian Castano was the WBO 154-pound titleholder, and he was just off a 12-round draw with Charlo in an undisputed title fight.

A draw obviously created the demand for a direct rematch, which, being that it was an undisputed title fight, superseded Tszyu’s mandatory position. Charlo-Castano 2 went ahead in May 2022, in Los Angeles, and it was Charlo who prevailed via 10th-round knockout.

MORE: Where is Tim Tszyu vs. Tony Harrison?

Fully aware that Tszyu had been waiting in the wings for several months, the WBO ordered Charlo to begin negotiations almost immediately after the Castano rematch. Charlo dutifully did so, and a matchup with Tszyu was tentatively scheduled for January 28 of this year.

However, in late December, just weeks after the bout was made official for the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, it was reported that Charlo had suffered two breaks in his left hand. All of that waiting had amounted to nothing.

Team Tszyu was now out of patience. The unbeaten Australian hadn’t been in the ring since March 2022, when he scored a competitive unanimous decision win over American veteran Terrell Gausha. But while Tszyu could have been forgiven for taking an easier fight, he has opted to face a former world champion with elite-level experience.

MORE: Tony Harrison gives Tim Tszyu a reality check, mocks opponent’s resume

Harrison, known as “Super Bad,” is 32 years old and hails from Detroit. The quick-fisted boxer-puncher won his first 21 fights before being stopped by Willie Nelson (TKO 9) in an upset. After regrouping, Harrison earned a world title shot against the then-unbeaten Jarrett Hurd, who also stopped him in nine rounds. But while Harrison suffered setbacks, he was also picking up invaluable experience, and that proved useful when he outpointed Charlo to win the WBC super-welterweight title in December 2018.

Undeterred, Charlo responded like champions do, winning a direct rematch via 11th-round knockout. Since then, he has dethroned IBF/ WBA counterpart Jeison Rosario (TKO 8) and Castano to emerge as the first undisputed super-welterweight champion since Winky Wright in 2004. Charlo is also recognized as one of the finest pound-for-pound fighters in the world today.

But not everyone is impressed.

“I know I will face Charlo next,” Tszyu told The Ring recently. “It’s undisputed at all costs. Tony is just another name on my journey to get there. [I will face Charlo in the] middle of the year, back in Vegas. That’s what I’ve been told, and that’s what I’m expecting. A big fight in Las Vegas has always been a dream of mine, from a little kid.

“We had a slight delay from the dream becoming reality, but it’s only a matter of time. And that’s ‘when,’ not ‘if.’”

Despite mandatory obligations mounting, Charlo still holds every recognized belt in this division. If you want a world title shot, at least for the moment, all roads go through the “Iron Man.”

However, will it be Charlo vs. Tszyu 1 or Charlo vs. Harrison 3?

“They got me going against one of the top guys, one of the best people in the world,” Harrison told Showtime commentator Brian Custer recently. “I’m like ‘what better way to show I’m the best fighter in the world. And then, not only that, I get the only guy (Charlo) I’ve been chasing when I win this fight. I only want one guy, and I’m done. I only want one guy, and I’m out of it.”

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