Thursday afternoon in Australia, WBO interim junior middleweight champ Tim Tszyu and No Limit Boxing made it official that he will defend his eventual world title in October against WBC top contender Brian Mendoza.
No Limit boxing released a statement confirming the date of October 15th, while not saying where or what venue the Tszyu Mendoza fight will take place.
And most importantly, the bout will be for the world championship, once the WBO strips Jermell Charlo on September 30th after he enters the Las Vegas ring to fight for the undisputed super middleweight crown against Canelo Alvarez.
Charlo was slated to defend his four junior middleweight titles previously against Tszyu, before breaking his hand and postponing their January fight. Charlo was since given a deadline to fight Tszyu by September 30th or be stripped. He instead chose to take the lucrative payday to fight Alvarez
So now, Tszyu , who already has KO wins over American Tony Harrison and Mexican Carlos Ocampo this year, will tangle with one of the top contenders in the 154 lb division in Mendoza.
Tszyu, 23-0, 17 KOs told the media in Australia Thursday,
“Look. We’re the two top dogs (he and Mendoza) in the division. It’s quite simple….I’ve got the WBO. He’s got the WBC. We’re both coming off two big wins. We’re both on that incline. There’s no decline from either side. It’s a tremendous challenge. And, I look forward to taking it with both hands.”
For his part, Mendoza, 22-2, 14 KOs pulled a shocking KO upset of previously unbeaten WBC interim champ Sebastian Fundora back in April. That has him in line to also fight Charlo, but he’s behind Tszyu in the rotation. That’s what makes this matchup compelling in October.
Tszyu is one of the most popular athletes on the Australian continent and is the son of Hall of Famer Kosta Tszyu.
His two fights since the Charlo January postponement saw him score an impressive win over the former WBC Junior middleweight champ Harrison by 9th round TKO in March and then, destroy Ocampo in just two minutes in July.
Strategically it’s also smart for Tszyu to be fighting just after the Charlo-Alvarez fight, because in the likely event that Charlo is beaten by Canelo, he would now be available to fight Tszyu for the undisputed championship in the first half of 2024.
That’s provided the Tszyu defeats Mendoza in their bout slated for 2 months from now.