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‘Better than we thought’: Tszyu’s US stock soars

Tim Tszyu’s blazing win over Tony Harrison on Sunday did what his US debut against Terrell Gausha couldn’t - prove his worth to the American boxing world.

While critics will point to whispers that Tony Harrison was having too much of a good time on the town in Sydney in the lead up to the interim title fight, and the card was moulded to showcase No Limit’s fighters, rather than challenge them, Tszyu undoubtedly stole the show and sent the US fight market a message.

And by the sounds of things, it was well received.

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“The takeaway most US fans had was Tim Tszyu is better than we thought,” American fight promoter Lou DiBella told Wide World of Sports.

After Tszyu’s US debut against Gausha in Las Vegas in March 2022, several prominent fighters in America threw shade at the Aussie, citing his early knockdown as proof he is not world champion material. Fast forward a year and the tide has turned somewhat.

After Tszyu dominated a jab-happy Harrison in Sydney – an opponent who was tipped by the likes of Shawn Porter and Errol Spence to win – the thought of Tszyu beating undisputed champion Jermell Charlo has gained steam.

Tszyu took the Harrison fight when he didn’t need to, when Charlo suffered a hand injury during training for their title fight scheduled for January. With a bout now touted for June or July, there’s some doubt whether Charlo can overcome the injury and a lack of ring time.

“Some people say Tim is going to be as good as he’s going to be and grab the golds right now,” DiBella, who serves as George Kambosos Jr‘s US promoter, told WWOS.

“But If Charlo was active and 100 per cent right now, I would probably advise Tszyu’s camp it would probably be a good idea to continue to build his star power. Take another cagey veteran, get another win, learn a little more, get a little bit better and then fight Charlo.

“But here’s the big ‘but’, Charlo hasn’t been active. If they do the fight next, it’s going to be 14-15 months since his last fight. That could be a very big advantage for Tim Tszyu.

“Maybe the champion isn’t 100 per cent right now. Maybe the champion with a long lay-off, maybe it’s a better time to get that opportunity.”

Speaking after Tszyu’s win during his duties as a commentator for Showtime, Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) said: “I’m a different animal in there.

“I’m a different fighter than Tony. You can’t compare me and try to compare Tony’s skills in boxing. He didn’t dog it out.

“He didn’t bring that dog in him. If he wanted to fight me, he’d have to bring more dog in him. But Tim is next and that’s who we had before the injury so it’s not like I’m not prepared already.”

The Harrison that faced Tszyu was an older, more tired version of the fighter that beat Charlo four years ago, yet that’s no stain on Tszyu, says DiBella.

The promoter claims most people in US boxing thought Harrison’s strengths were a “bad recipe” for Tszyu. But the Aussie and his team played the bout perfectly and “correctly identified Tony as a guy that didn’t pose a huge threat at this point.”

It set up the undefeated Sydney fighter to be in a perfect position, regardless of whether he can beat Charlo or not.

“If Tim Tszyu fights the best guy in the division, the undisputed champion, and gives him a really good fight and he doesn’t win – no big deal,” DiBella said.

“That’s not a big blight on his resume. I actually expect him to be very competitive. In a perfect world you’d want a little bit more seasoning but right now Charlo is not in an optimal situation.

“Generally an undisputed champion fighting a young hungry dangerous fighter, you don’t want to be off for over a year. That’s not what you want.

“I honestly don’t think Tim can make a bad decision. He’s in a really good situation right now. If Charlo decides he needs a tune up fight, then that’s not a bad thing for Tim either.

“He needs to be way better than the Tszyu that fought Harrison to beat Charlo but maybe he can be. And maybe the Charlo that he would be fighting isn’t as good as Charlo in his last fight.

“Tim Tszyu is getting better every fight. Anyone who doesn’t see that doesn’t know anything about boxing.”

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