Tim Tszyu eyes undisputed championship bout, but hasn’t lost focus on Tony Harrison
On November 3, 2001, Kostya Tszyu produced arguably the greatest Hall of Fame performance of his boxing career when he knocked out Zab Judah at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas in the second round to win the undisputed World Super Lightweight Championship. .
Just over 20 years later, the opportunity for his son Tim to accomplish a similar feat was stolen from him when undisputed welterweight champion Jermell Charlo broke his arm in training. Charlo was scheduled to fight Tim Tszyu at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Mandalay Bay, right across the street from where his father achieved his greatest boxing fame.
At the opening press conference for his fight with Charlo, Tim Tszyu noted that it was not only 21 years after his father won the undisputed title, but also 23 years after his father defeated Jake Rodriguez and won his first title.
There was a certain vibe to this date that made Tszyu feel like the stars had aligned for him. But he shrugged and didn’t hesitate when Tony Harrison was offered as a replacement.
So they will fight on Saturday (10:45 am ET, Showtime) with no belt on the line, but for the right to be mandatory and next to Charlo.
Tim Tszyu, 28, with a record of 21-0 and 15 knockouts, wasn’t looking for an easy win to keep himself occupied. He wanted a strong opponent, and he got it.
“I was really devastated,” Tszyu said of his reaction when he found out about Charlo’s injury. “I was devastated because it was such a big opportunity… But you have to understand that in life you face a lot more problems than this. It’s just a small hurdle. there are plenty of opponents, there is nothing to cry about such things.
“[Harrison] slightly faster and farther. They have some similarities, but I think Harrison has more boxing skills.”
Tszyu has been boxing most of his life because of his father and he came to learn something about the game that helped him as he neared the top.
He doesn’t allow himself to get annoyed or disturbed by things that are out of his control. He adapts when needed and is not the type to worry too much about his opponents before a fight.
“Honestly, man, for me, every fight I’m in is me against myself,” he said. “I try to improve myself all the time and be better than I was. It does not depend on who is in front of me. I feel that if I keep working and improving myself, I can handle anything. way.”
Tszyu’s father was a well-known determined and purposeful fighter. He was tense not only from the beginning to the end of the fight, but also from the beginning to the end of the training camp. Tim Tszyu was only 3 months old when his father won the world title for the first time and 11 when his father lost to Ricky Hatton in 2005 and retired.
As such, he didn’t have a good idea of what was going on in his father’s career, but being born into boxing and being close to his father helped him understand the bumpy road fighters take. This was a positive thing for him as he paved his own way to prominence in the sport.
“Being around him didn’t really have a big impact on me in terms of media exposure and attention and all that stuff,” Tim Tszyu said. “I think this is something you have to experience for yourself in order to understand it and how to deal with it. But in terms of boxing, being able to see the ups and downs, the truth about boxing, it gave me a better idea of what it is.”
He will face a highly motivated opponent when he faces Harrison. Harrison defeated Charlo on December 22, 2018 but was stopped in the 11th rematch on December 21, 2019 while leading on two out of three maps.
A win over Tszyu will give him the rubber match against Charlo he’s been chasing for the last three plus years.
“I’m here on a mission,” Harrison said. – My attention is focused only on Tim Tszyu. wait to see the crowd that will support him, because I will leave them no choice but to love me too. I hope he’s ready for 12 grueling rounds because I’m ready to go as long as he can last.”