Tszyu forgets Charlo and says Thurman has never faced anyone like him

Tim Tszyu spoke to the press at Sydney International Airport before his departure to the United States where he will conclude preparations for his US PPV debut on March 30. 

The unbeaten WBO super-welterweight champion headlines at the T-Mobile in Las Vegas to make the second defence of his title against former unified welterweight world champion Keith Thurman.

Tszyu-Thurman launches Amazon Prime’s entrance into boxing following Showtime’s decision to withdraw from the sport in late 2023.

Tszyu, son of former undisputed super-lightweight great Kostya Tszyua, admitted he was disappointed he could not face his long-time rival and former undisputed 154lbs champio, Jermell Charlo. 

The pair were scheduled to fight in January 2023. However, that encounter was postponed because Charlo broke his hand in preparation. 

A rescheduled date didn’t materialise and Tszyu was elevated to WBO champion following Charlo’s decision to proceed with the undisputed 168lbs fight with Canelo Alvarez in September instead. Tszyu was elevated from interim to full champion. 

Speaking to the press, the WBO champion admitted he has given up on facing Charlo while labelling him a coward and a fraud. 

“I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m never going to fight him [Charlo] because he’s a bit of a coward, and finally, all the sanctioning bodies are realising that he’s a fraud,” Tszyu told the media. 

“He worked so hard to win the belts, and you have to go even harder to keep them. What did he do? He just stopped fighting. That’s unfair for the rest of the division.

“It’s held us all up for two or three years, so let him go into hiding, into his little holiday or whatever he does.

“He is not my concern. He’s not on the radar anymore for anyone at the moment. He’s got nothing to bring. That [stripping of his belt] should have happened months ago when [Brian] Mendoza and I fought.”

Tszyu expressed his delight about the prospect of headlining a US PPV for the first time in his career, being the first Australian fighter to do so. He also defended his decision to face Thurman, who has not boxed since May 2022, despite the inactivity which has plagued Thurman’s career. 

“T-Mobile Arena, headlining Amazon Prime in the [United] States, it’s a big deal,” Tszyu said. “I’ve loved fighting in Australia; it’s been an absolute honour.

“He’s [Thurman] got the calibre, and the names on his record are definitely better than mine. His resume is much better.

“But he’s never faced a Tim Tszyu in his life. That’s the most challenging part for him. When I peak, I peak, and he will feel it. He’s never been in the ring with anyone like me.”