THE immediate path to a world title challenge for Tim Tszyu continues to gain momentum.
Although his next appearance is yet to be finalised, promoter No Limit Boxing prefers for Tszyu (19-0, 15 KOs) to face Tony Harrison (28-3-1, 21 KOs), a former holder of the coveted WBC world title.
Meanwhile, fresh off his title unification draw, IBF ruler Jermell Charlo is set to be mandated by the sanctioning body to defend his title against mandatory challenger Bakhram Murtazaliev, as revealed by Ben Damon.
IBF set to force mandatory defence
An outright holder of all four world titles is incredibly difficult to achieve, due to the often concurrent mandatory deadlines set by the major bodies.
This has been highlighted with Charlo (34-1-1, 18 KOs), as the 31-year-old moves towards a likely defence against Russia’s Murtazaliev.
“Tim Tszyu’s path to a world title shot has just become much clearer with the IBF set to demand their belt-holder Jermell Charlo move towards a fight with mandatory challenger, Russian Bakhram Murtazaliev,” wrote Damon.
“The development reduces the prospect of Charlo immediately rematching WBO champion Brian Castaño, who would in turn receive pressure from that organisation to defend his belt against Tszyu, who is their number one challenger.
“Charlo and Castaño have the same advisor, Al Haymon, who would prefer a rematch… but the IBF is believed to be adamant Murtazaliev deserves his shot, after an extended stint as their number one challenger.”
What does this mean for Tszyu?
The pay-per-view star will continue his ascension towards a title challenge, with a September date the probable next move.
A slew of world level operators have been in negotiations with No Limit Boxing, but former WBC boss Harrison looms large as the preferred opponent.
Former WBO titleholder Liam Smith has been another vocal option, alongside German Jack Culcay, who holds a world title win over Dennis Hogan.
“Tszyu’s promoters at No Limit have developed a strategy to have the 26-year-old ready for his title shot at the end of the year, should things fall into place,” added Damon.
“Tszyu will proceed with a fight against a former world champion in Australia in September and American Tony Harrison is now the preferred option as he’s considered the toughest of the short-listed options, ahead of Liam Smith and Jack Culcay.”
Who is Tony Harrison?
The charismatic American is best known to world audiences for splitting two world title fights with Charlo.
Moreover, the 30-year-old, who holds wins over several world class opponents, could be the conduit to lucrative overseas challenges within the stable of Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
“Harrison is the only man with an official win against Jermell Charlo,” Damon concluded.
“He appears the perfect measure of where Tszyu fits in the division, ahead of the proposed title bout with Castaño or a future clash against Charlo.
“Should Tszyu beat the extremely credible Harrison No Limit would want to move straight onto the Argentinian Castaño in a November or December title fight which, if held in Australia, would be our most significant event since Jeff Horn defeated Manny Pacquiao.”
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