Showtime Boxing returns to Australia as their interim WBO junior middleweight champion Tim Tszyu (22-0, 16 KOs) returns after just a three-month layoff to defend his title against Carlos Ocampo (35-2, 23 KOs). This fight will occur on Saturday night here in the U.S. but on Sunday afternoon in Australia. Although this isn’t the matchup the fans were looking to see, having more Tszyu fights available builds anticipation for the undisputed fight against Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs).
Before we get into Charlo, it was just a few months ago that Tszyu faced the battle-tested former champion Tony Harrison (29-4-1, 21 KOs). During the buildup to the fight, there was plenty of discussion surrounding Harrison’s two fights with Charlo and how that could play into the Tszyu fight. Coincidentally, Charlo was commentating on the fight from a studio as he would face the winner next, coming off of a hand injury. Although Tszyu lost to Charlo in their rematch via 11th-round TKO, Tszyu did it a little sooner but arguably more convincingly during the ninth round of their fight.
So what were some of the takeaways for Tszyu from the Harrison fight? Tszyu told ProBoxTV, “For me, it was more about the style of the fight. The way he moved and how he (Harrison) was thinking in there. I can really see it, and I was trying to be two steps ahead of him. At times, I wasn’t, but at times I was. It was a stylistically and technically good fight to improve the brain.” The experience he gained was priceless, and he has been in the gym ever since. “I have been non-stop. The more rounds you do, the more comfortable you feel in the ring.”
Shifting the conversation to Charlo, after watching the fight in the studio, he said that the matchup would take place either July or August but that it really depended on how well his hand healed and reacted during therapy. After getting news from the WBO that Charlo needed more time to recover from his injury, Tszyu wasted no time getting his team to set up a fight as soon as possible. Although Tszyu found a fight between his undisputed bout that he is owed, Tszyu did have some words to say about Charlo. Tszyu told ProBoxTV, “When he first pulled out of the fight, he was saying, ‘Don’t worry, I can beat him with one hand.’ I think the whole momentum sort of changed, and he realizes that this ain’t going to be an easy fight from what he used to think.”
As Tszyu moved on, Ocampo was named the opponent, and although he isn’t a big name, Ocampo is a tough veteran fighter who will be coming forward all night. “It’s a tough style to beat. It’s always a dogfight in there when you face someone like that. That always brings out a different version of yourself. It’s going to be a fan-friendly fight.” A fight that almost didn’t happen as a dog bit Tszyu and was nearly forced to pull out of the fight. He considers himself to be “very lucky” to have come away without any serious injuries. “I dodged a bullet with that dog. It could have gotten really, really bad. I was lucky that it was really quick. He took a bite at me and cling to me a little bit, but it’s all good now. I’m blessed.”
Tszyu now gets to have another fight in Australia and build his profile even more if he can earn a sensational win on Saturday night. Although he is not overlooking Ocampo, Tszyu still has his goals set in place: to fight Charlo in 2023. “Yes, that’s the number one priority. He’s been 13 months out of the ring, so I think it’s about time he got his hand right. It’s getting a bit too long.” As the undisputed fight continues to build, Tszyu is saying and doing all of the right things. Saturday night on Showtime is another opportunity to make the Charlo fight go from anticipated to highly anticipated amongst purists and casuals.