Tszyu to be elevated to WBO world champion, Charlo retains undisputed crown till fight with Canelo commences

WBO interim super-welterweight champion Tim Tszyu (23-0, 17KOs) has been elevated to full world champion status following a ruling made by the WBO after Jermell Charlo’s decision to step up two weight classes and challenge for the undisputed super-middleweight title against Canelo Alvarez set to take place on September 30.

However, Tszyu will have to wait officially till the first bell rings on September 30 before he is confirmed as WBO world champion, which will see Charlo lose his WBO & undisputed world champion status at 154 lbs once his contest with Canelo begins.

Tszyu has been waiting for his title opportunity for almost two years after being made the official mandatory challenger for the WBO in August 2021, following a period as the WBO’s “global” champion at 154 lbs. Tszyu would challenge former world title holder Tony Harrison in March of this year, with the pair contesting the WBO’s interim title. Tim would secure victory over Harrison in nine rounds and solidify his status against Carlos Ocampo with a first-round knockout in June.

Charlo was due to defend his undisputed world title against Tszyu in January of this year however, due to a hand injury, the contest between the pair never happened.

The WBO have effectively allowed Charlo to retain his undisputed world title status solely for marketing purposes as he faces Canelo Alvarez and supports the billing of ‘Undisputed versus Undisputed.’ The WBO released a statement confirming their intention to elevate Tszyu which reads in part as follows.

“The WBO will sanction Canelo/Charlo scheduled for September 30, 2023, in Las Vegas, Nevada,” WBO Championship Committee chairman Luis Batista-Salas stated in a ruling submitted to the respective camps of Charlo and Tszyu, “Charlo will be allowed to enter the ring as WBO Champion and be announced as such.

“After Charlo enters the ring on September 30, 2023, and is officially introduced as WBO Jr. Middleweight Champion, his status and recognition as WBO Champion is terminated “Ipso Facto”. After Charlo’s WBO Champion status and recognition is terminated pursuant to above mentioned section (c) this Resolution, Tim Tszyu will be automatically elevated from Interim Champion to Full Champion status.”

The same ruling will apply in the event Alvarez-Charlo does not take place, as it will still be regarded as Charlo failing to honour a previously ordered mandatory title defence.

Charlo would become undisputed world champion in May of last year with a tenth-round knockout against Brian Castano in Carson, California and collecting the WBO belt to add alongside his WBC, WBA & IBF world titles to become undisputed world champion.

The WBO ruling allows Alvarez-Charlo to properly carry the ‘undisputed vs undisputed’ billing, though not any longer than before the opening bell.

“Certainly, the Undisputed vs. Undisputed clash has ignited remarkable intrigue among the boxing community considering that it is the first-ever bout of such magnitude in the four-belt era,” noted Batista-Salas. “Furthermore, Charlo is moving two weight classes seeking to cement his status as one of boxing’s greatest feat in the modern era by challenging the face of boxing Canelo Alvarez. Nevertheless, it is not less true, that by virtue of Charlo disregarding his obligation to Tszyu, has failed to comply with our rules and regulations.

“However, we must stress that the current scenario is an extraordinary one, and as such, it warrants a reasonable outcome for all participants. Therefore, in the balance of all the interests involved, we are of the position that a ruling that best serves boxing’s interests outweighs Tszyu based on the extraordinary scenario involving the historic Canelo/Charlo Undisputed versus Undisputed Championship Contest. Hence, the following decision is considered proper and just as it achieves our purposes, policies, and intent of our rules as well as remedy Tsyzu’s rights and interests.”