When Jermell Charlo made the decision to move up to 168 pounds to challenge Canelo Alvarez, the WBO stripped Charlo of his title and it was then rewarded to Tim Tszyu, who had his first defense Saturday night live on Showtimes from Queensland, Australia. Following a measured start, Tszyu would crank up the heat in the 5th round and Mendoza was never able to deter the Australian star. Tszyu— also known as, “The Soul Taker,” seemingly left no doubt that he and Jermell Charlo are the two top dogs at 154 pounds. A potential clash between Charlo and Tszyu has the potential to be explosive. Jermell seems eager to come back down in weight, with the exceptional of a potential Terence Crawford fight, Tim Tszyu appears to be the most logical opponent if Charlo decides to come back to the junior middleweight division, which as of now, all signs point to that being the case.
Through the first four rounds, the two combatants appeared to be evenly matched, but staying true to his pre-fight promise to pick up the pace after round 4, Tszyu proved to be too much for the upset minded Mendoza. Fighting in front of a ruckus hometown crowd in Queensland, Australia, Tszyu took his time and methodically picked his spots through the early rounds. By round five, Tszyu mixed in some hard chopping right hands and uppercuts which greatly affected Mendoza’s punch output. Although, very game, Mendoza simply couldn’t keep up with the pressure and volume of Tszyu once he started to open up his offensive arsenal. Tszyu moved to 24-0 with 17 knockouts, while Mendoza falls to 22-3 with 16 knockouts.
The fight was Tszyu’s first defense of his newly acquired WBO title that was rewarded to him following the sanctioning body stripping Jermell Charlo of the title when he moved up to 168 to face Canelo Alvarez, in which he lost by wide margin unanimous decision. Mendoza earned the shot by pulling off back-to-back upsets over former champion Jeison Rosario and previously undefeated Sebastian Fundora. Although, third time wouldn’t be a charm for “La Bala,” his toughness and durability could never be questioned, as he sustained punishment from the middle rounds on and never wilted.
Following the fight, Tszyu invited Charlo back down to the 154-pound division to “reclaim” his title, “Charlo, where you at? Where you at buddy? He probably thinks in his delusional head that he’s going to beat me. Come get it. Come get it,” Tszyu stated during his post-fight interview. Charlo and Tszyu appeared to be on the verge of fighting one another before Charlo made the decision to move up and face Alvarez. A Charlo-Tszyu unification bout seems inevitable, as it would be Charlo’s third consecutive unification bout. Tszyu has also expressed his eagerness to fight in the United States more often, claiming the Mendoza fight will be his last in Australia for a while, which should eliminate venue as being any stall in negotiating a Charlo fight.
Overall— Tszyu did what he had to do against a very tough opponent, who was hot off a 3-fight winning streak, who hadn’t lost a fight since 2021. The judges’ scorecards read, Steve Gray, 112-116, Adam Height, 111-116, and Katsuhiko Nakamura , 111-117. Zenger News scored the bout 111-117.
Edited by Joseph Hammond and Virginia Van Zandt
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