By Vince D’Writer: Approximately two weeks ago, Tim Tszyu was elevated to the status of WBO junior-middleweight world champion, and on October 14th, the new champ will make his first title defense against Brian Mendoza (22-2, 16 KOs) at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia at 10:30 pm ET live on Showtime.
(Photo credit: Zain Mohammed / No Limit Boxing)
The Aussie boxer Tim Tszyu started his professional boxing career back in December 2016, and after accumulating twenty-one wins in a row, Tszyu was set to get his opportunity to challenge the undisputed junior-middleweight world champion Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo.
Back in May 2022, the WBO ordered Jermell Charlo to face Tim Tszyu in his first title defense as the undisputed junior-middleweight champion. The Charlo vs Tszyu undisputed world championship bout was set to take place on January 28, 2023, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, the highly anticipated matchup between Charlo and Tszyu was postponed weeks before the fight was supposed to take place. While training for the bout, Jermell Charlo was sparring, and he broke his hand in two places.
While the undisputed champion at 154 was sidelined with an injury, Tszyu decided to step in the ring with the man who became the first boxer to defeat Jermell Charlo. Back in March 2023, Tim Tszyu was dominant as he scored a 9th-round TKO victory over Tony Harrison and won the vacant WBO Interim title.
Two months later, Tszyu made a quick cameo inside the squared circle as he knocked out Carlos Ocampo in the first round. With two victories at the midway point of 2023, Tszyu was ready to finally receive his shot at the undisputed crown, but unfortunately, Charlo threw Tszyu a curveball.
After his hand healed, instead of fighting Tszyu, Charlo decided to go up two weight classes to challenge the undisputed super-middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez. The WBO made the decision to strip Charlo as soon as the bell rung to officially start the bout between him and Alvarez.
Now, the newly crowned WBO junior-middleweight world champion Tim Tszyu (23-0, 17 KOs) is set to make the first defense of his title in front of a home crowd. On Saturday night, the 28-year-old Tszyu will defend the WBO strap against a hungry contender who is coming off a big upset victory.
From November 2019 to September 2021, the previously unbeaten Brian Mendoza would go on to lose two out of three fights. Mendoza bounced back and scored two consecutive knockout victories against Benjamin Whitaker and Jeison Rosario.
The 29-year-old Mendoza returned to the ring in April 2023, and he proceeded to score a big upset. The 5 ‘10” Brian Mendoza stepped inside the squared circle as the underdog when he faced the highly touted 6’5” prospect Sebastian Fundora.
Less than 30 seconds into the 7th round, Mendoza landed an overhand left that staggered his opponent. He proceeded to knock Fundora out when he landed a right, followed by the left.
After scoring the upset victory over Fundora, Brian Mendoza is now in pursuit of a bigger upset as he travels to Australia to face the undefeated WBO world champion. The Tszyu-Mendoza bout has the potential to be a fan-friendly type of firefight.
Tim Tszyu is a fundamentally sound boxer who is accustomed to pressing forward and applying consistent pressure. He’s a highly skilled fighter who has good timing, he’s an exceptional body puncher, and he’s deceptively fast.
His opponent, Brian Mendoza, is a hard-hitting boxer whose offensive weapons include a big left hook, a crisp overhand right, and he’s a solid counterpuncher. From a skill-level perspective, Tszyu is considered the favorite, but Mendoza will have opportunities in this fight due to Tszyu’s lack of defense.
Saturday night’s clash between Tim Tszyu and Brian Mendoza should be an action-packed high-stakes bout. The winner will be the owner of the WBO strap, and they will also be in prime position to face Jermell Charlo for the chance to become undisputed in the 154-pound division.