By Mark Eisner: Tim Tszyu (22-0, 16 KOs) kept his unbeaten record intact with a ninth round knockout of former WBC junior middleweight champion Tony Harrison (29-4-1, 21 KOs) to win the interim WBO 154-lb title on Saturday night at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, in Australia.
Tszyu dropped the 32-year-old Harrison in the ninth round after unloading with a storm of heavy shots to the head of the inactive Detroit native. Harrison made it back to his feet, but the fight was quickly halted by the referee.
With the win, Tszyu will face undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo next as soon as his broken left hand heals.
Preview: In a battle for the WBO interim junior middleweight title tonight, undefeated hometown fighter Tim Tszyu faces the grizzled former 154-lb world champion Tony Harrison in the 12-round main event on ESPN+ at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia. Showtime will stream this single-fight event tonight, March 11, at 10:45 p.m. ET/7:45 p.m. PT.
Although the fight is on March 11th for U.S fans, it’ll take place on March 12th for Australians because their time is ahead of the United States.
For the 28-year-old Tszyu, the son of the famous former light welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu, this is the biggest fight of his career, going up against former WBC junior middleweight champion ‘Super Bad’ Harrison (29-3-1, 21 KOs) in the main event on Showtime in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
Undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo, the guy that Tszyu and Harrison are battling it out to fight, will be a special guest as part of Showtime’s broadcast team along with Brian Custer, Al Bernstein, and Abner Mares.
Tszyu had been scheduled to challenge Jermell Charlo for his undisputed junior middleweight championship last January, but the Texas native suffered a broken hand and had to pull out of the fight. Rather than sit and wait or take an easy fight against a lesser opponent, Tszyu chose to fight Harrison, who is ranked #3 WBO.
It’s a big risk on Tszyu’s part to fight someone as well-seasoned and talented as the 32-year-old Harrison, but he wants to be ready for Charlo, and choosing this guy gives him the best opportunity to prepare for that level of a fight.
“I think for Tim, when you don’t get a fight against Jermell, but you get a fighter like Tony [Harrison], it keeps your level high,” said Shawn Porter to Fighthype about Tim Tszyu taking replacement opponent Tony Harrison after undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo had to pull out of his fight with Tim on January 28th due to a broken left hand.
“It’s much different from going from not fighting Jermell to fighting a backyard fight against another Aussie. I think Tim is going to be really ready for this fight and up for it.
“You’ve got Tony; I’m sure he knows that, ‘Hey, a loss here and there’s nowhere for me to go.’ I think the best part about it is you’ve got two guys 100% getting in the ring and ready to give it all they’ve got,” said Porter.