Tszyu to face Harrison for interim title in March

Boxing

Tim Tszyu will fight Tony Harrison for the WBO junior middleweight interim title on March 12 in Australia, it was announced on Sunday.

The site and city were not disclosed, but the fight will take place on that Sunday afternoon in Australia and be televised in prime time in the United States on Saturday night.

Tszyu, an Australian star and son of Hall of Fame boxer Kostya Tszyu, was set to challenge Jermell Charlo for the undisputed championship at 154 pounds on Saturday before the American fighter withdrew because of a broken left hand.

Now, Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs) will take on his toughest test yet, and if he emerges victorious, will face Charlo later this year for all four junior middleweight titles once he is medically cleared. If Charlo isn’t able to defend his WBO title in the time period set forth by the Puerto Rico-based organization, he will be stripped, and the interim champion will be elevated.

Tszyu, 28, made his U.S. debut in March with a unanimous decision victory over Terrell Gausha. Tszyu, ESPN’s No. 4 junior middleweight, was then ringside in May for Charlo’s KO victory over Brian Castano ahead of their planned Jan. 28 fight in Las Vegas.

“I felt like the stars aligned for undisputed … but we move on,” Tszyu said last month after the matchup with Charlo was postponed. “I’m ready to take on the next mandatory challenger. I’ll be back for Charlo once he is ready and healed.”

Harrison (29-3-1, 21 KOs) rebounded in April with a wide-points victory over Sergio Garcia, his first win since December 2018, when he upset Charlo via controversial unanimous decision.

The 32-year-old from Detroit is a crafty boxer but has been stopped in each of his losses, including a 11th-round KO in the December 2019 title rematch with Charlo. Harrison was surprisingly held to a draw against fringe contender Bryant Perrella in April 2021 and is rated No. 1 at 154 pounds, one spot behind Tszyu.

If Harrison can pull off the upset, he’ll earn a third crack at Charlo.

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