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Tim Tszyu could face Brian Castano next

Tim Tszyu

By Matt Lieberman: WBO junior middleweight champion Brian Castano may need to defend against #1 WBO Tim Tszyu next rather than face Jermell Charlo in a rematch after fighting against a questionable 12 round draw against him last Saturday night.

Tszyu, 26, is a big puncher, and he would be a different type of threat to Castano than Jermell. The way that Tszyu goes to the body, it would be a different experience for Castano than what he faced last Saturday against the head-hunting Charlo.

George Rose, the promoter for the unbeaten, highly ranked Tszyu (19-0, 15 KOs), will speak with World Boxing Organization president Paco Valcarcel to make Tim mandatory to Castano (17-0-2, 12 KOs) and have that fight take place next.

Tszyu is in a position to force mandatory

Castano and IBF/WBA/WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell (34-1-1, 18 KOs) fought to a 12 round draw last Saturday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas. Although most boxing fans saw Castano, 31, as the winner, the judges saw the contest as a draw.

Rose believes that the draw is a good thing potentially for Tszyu, as it puts him in a position to challenge Castano for his WBO title before the end of the year.

“Tszyu could be next. That was a great fight, and you’d be surprised if Charlo wanted to jump straight into a rematch – plus he’ll have the other sanctioning bodies breathing down his neck,” said Rose to FOX Sports.

“We’ll talk to Paco [Valcarcel] at the WBO today about the prospect of making Tszyu mandatory for Castaño’s belt, and we’ll be doing everything possible to make that fight happen before the end of the year.”

Tim Tszyu

The IBF may order Jermell to defend against Bakhram Murtazaliev (19-0, 14 KOs). That’s not a piece of cake fight either for Charlo, but it’s more winnable than a rematch with Castano.

Tszyu suspects that Charlo may choose to vacate his three 154-lb titles and move up to 160. There are bigger paydays at 160 for Jermell, and the division has opportunities to capture belts against Gennadiy Golovkin and Demetrius Andrade.

The 31-year-old Charlo’s weight-drained appearance last Friday, coupled with his lackluster performance against Castano, clearly indicates that he’s outgrown the 154-lb division. He needs to move up to 160 before it’s too late.

Tszyu: Jermell could lose second Castano fight

If Charlo stays for another fight against Castano, there’s a good chance he loses that fight and ruins the possibility of big paydays at 160.

“I thought Castano won, but that fight is over now, and I know I have the style to beat him,” said Tszyu. “As I said, I’m ready when he is, and I believe I will stop him – he is tailor-made for me,” Tszyu said.

“As for Charlo, I honestly don’t know if we see him again at super welterweight. It’s a big risk that he will lose AGAIN, so maybe he’s better off getting out of the division,” said Tszyu.

Interestingly, Tszyu isn’t even willing to go along with the charade of Jermell having earned a 12 round draw last weekend.

Tszyu is telling it like it is by saying Jermell lost the fight to Castano and will probably lose again if he fights him in a rematch.

Charlo’s manager Al Haymon needs to see the writing on the wall and realize that Jermell could lose the rematch if he risks putting him back in with Castano.

The money Jermell can make fighting Castano again probably isn’t anywhere near what he can get by fighting Golovkin at 160. That’s the fight Jermell needs.

Tim Tszyu’s 3 options for September

Tszyu will be back in the ring in two months from now against potentially one of these three ex-world champions:

  • Liam Smith
  • Tony Harrison
  • Jack Culcay

Of those three, former WBC 154-lb champion Harrison (28-3-1, 21 KOs) is the best of the lot and the bigger threat to Tszyu than Smith and Culcay. Those two are very beatable guys who are getting up there in age.

Liam Smith, a fighter coming off a loss to Magomed Kurbanov, appears to be in the lead position to get the fight with Tszyu. Smith, 32, is a former WBO 154-lb champion and is well known among casual boxing fans.

However, Smith isn’t widely known in the U.S compared to Tony Harrison, and he’s slower, easier to hit more of a fringe-level fighter. Compared to the fighters that Tszyu has been fighting in the last couple of years, Liam isn’t much of a step up in class.

Like Steve Spark, Jeff Horn, and Dennis Hogan, Liam Smith is a plodder, easy to hit, and will be right there in front of Tszyu all night.

Smith isn’t the ideal preparation for a fight against Castano, but he is a better style match-up for Tszyu than Harrison. Up to this point, Tszyu hasn’t been pitted against fighters that box like Harrison, so it might be a shock to his system to get thrown in the ring with him.

For Tszyu to beat Harrison, he would have to be prepared for a long-range shootout because the fight could be conducted on the outside.

Tim Tszyu

Harrison, 30, beat Jermell by a 12 round split decision three years ago in their first fight in 2018. In their rematch in 2019, Jermell knocked out Harrison in the eleventh round in a competitive fight.

Fighting Harrison would give Tszyu a chance to show the boxing world how he compares with Jermell. If Tszyu beats Harrison in a better fashion than Charlo did, that would say a lot about him, and it would help build his credentials.

“So for now, it’s all up to Liam Smith, Tony Harrison, and Jack Culcay,” said Rose about three potential opponents for Tszyu’s next fight in September.

Tszyu is about to turn 27-years-old, and he’s got to step up against better opposition than what we’ve been seeing from him. If Tszyu will capture a world title, he’s got to go for now because he’s wasting his prime years on facing sub-level opposition in Australia.

Tszyu’s last give opponents:

  • Steve Spark
  • Dennis Hogan
  • Bowyn Morgan
  • Jeff Horn
  • Jack Brubaker

Tszyu would be taking a significant step up in class by fighting Tony Harrison, which is why it’s unlikely his promoter Rose will pick him as his next opponent.

Jack Culcay or Liam Smith is closer to the level of the opposition that Tszyu has been fighting at in Australia than Harrison.

For Tszyu to beat Harrison, he would need the ability to potentially box his way to a victory if he’s unable to knock him out. We saw Jermell try and score a stoppage against Harrison in their first fight in 2018, and he got out-boxed by him.

Although Harrison can be stopped, it’s a hit or miss type of thing. If you fail to knock out the tough Detroit, Michigan native Harrison, there’s a good chance he’s going to beat you with his skills.

Jermell might push to fight Castano next because it’s going to be hard for him to deal with the perception that the judges in Texas gave him a gift.

By now, Charlo has watched a replay of the fight at home, and he knows how lucky he was with the scoring.

Jermell’s management adviser Al Haymon is smart, and he’ll see it as a bad idea to tempt fate a second time by taking on Castano.

The Argentinian fighter is a bad-style match-up for the 31-year-old Jermell, and he’s smart enough to know that’s not going to change in a second fight.

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