What’s next for Tszyu after title shot folds

    Tszyu was scheduled to fight unified super-welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo on January 28 in Las Vegas, before the American was forced out with a broken hand. Tszyu, who had been preparing in Los Angeles since early December, will complete his US training camp and is adamant on fighting in the first three months of 2023. The 28-year-old is the mandatory challenger to Charlo’s WBO belt and there are hopes the sanctioning body will arrange an interim title fight, possibly in Australia in the first quarter of 2023. “The interims were mentioned straight away on the back of the postponement,” Tszyu’s manager Glen Jennings told CODE Sports. “It’s something we’re really interested in pursuing. “We’ll look at everything and make a decision on what the best outcome is for us, knowing that we have to keep our mandatory intact for when Charlo returns.”Jennings and Tszyu’s promoters at No Limit Boxing are in discussions to find a replacement opponent for a fight that could be held in Australia in February or March. “Not knowing how much recovery time Charlo’s going to need, it’s critical that we just get on with it and keep Tim busy,” Jennings said. “It’s not in Tim’s DNA to sit around. It’s been hell waiting this long already. “We’re going to go hard and get Tim another fight. Whether it be in the US or if we finish the camp then return and fight here in Australia, all doors are open.“We’ve gone out to a few guys, they’re all top ranked and well-rated, and they come from all of the promoters.“Anything’s possible. Hopefully we’ll be able to get some indication on that fairly quickly.”Who will Tim Tszyu fight next? With negotiations underway, Jennings didn’t reveal any names but anyone ranked in the top 15 of the WBO shapes as a legitimate replacement option for Tszyu, who says he wants to fight the next-best opponent in the rankings. The key is finding a fighter worthy enough of contesting an interim belt, while not posing an undue threat to Tszyu’s unbeaten record and mandatory status. Former world champion Tony Harrison, ranked No.3 with the WBO, has already publicly called for the fight. Harrison is the only man to beat Charlo and was close to signing-on to face Tszyu in 2021, before pulling out at the last minute. Now though, he says he’ll, “Fill in for charlo so he (Tszyu) ain’t gotta go on another 6 month layoff.”Bakhram Murtazaliev, 21-0 and ranked fourth with the WBO, is another front-runner. The 29-year-old is the long-time IBF mandatory but has taken step-aside money on three occasions as Charlo collected all the belts in the division. Murtazaliev isn’t a huge name but is widely respected and has connections with PBC, who are also Charlo’s promoters. He is yet to be truly tested by the top names in the division and most recently scored a unanimous decision victory over Roberto Valenzuela in mid-December. Brian Castano has name value after his two high-profile fights with Charlo and would be an interesting stylistic match-up for Tszyu, but is unlikely to get an interim title fight coming off a loss. Liam Smith, the Englishman ranked No.2 with the WBO, could have been the perfect replacement. The former world champion was keen on fighting Tszyu after the Australian’s win over Steve Spark in July 2021, yet is currently signed to fight Chris Eubank in January.Flow-on effects Tszyu was naturally gutted when told that Charlo was injured but, true to form, barely skipped a beat and processed the set-back while shadowboxing outside in LA.Charlo’s injury is disappointing news for Aussie super bantamweight contender Sam Goodman, too. Goodman, 13-0, was due to fight on the Tszyu-Charlo undercard while continuing his rise towards a world title. Undeterred, he flew out to America on Wednesday morning to complete his planned training camp. Goodman will get some high-level sparring in the US while waiting to see what happens with Tszyu’s next fight.The postponement is a blow for Main Event also. The pay-per-view broadcaster in Australia had planned on launching its promotional drive this week, with a Matt Nable-narrated hype video. “It’s extremely disappointing because everything was geared towards making it a major TV event and he was primed,” broadcaster Ben Damon told CODE Sports. “It’s great they’re looking to turn it into a positive, though. Another fight in early 2023 places him in a great spot to do something big later in the year. “It’s another chance to keep developing. Against [Terrell] Gausha, there were things he needed to work on, and a fight of this calibre is a fantastic opportunity to work on them.” Queensland’s Liam Wilson becomes the unwitting beneficiary of the Tszyu-Charlo postponement.The 26-year-old is fighting Emanuel Navarrete (36-1) for the vacant WBO super-featherweight world title in Glendale, Arizona. The bout was initially scheduled for the week after Tszyu’s bout, meaning Wilson wouldn’t have enjoyed the same media attention in the build-up. Now, the 11-1 Wilson – who avenged the only defeat of his professional career when he scored a second-round knockout win over Joe Noynay in their rematch in March – should be given far more love from the Australian public.

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