Tim Tszyu will challenge Jermell Charlo for the undisputed junior middleweight championship on Saturday, Jan. 28, making his second appearance in a U.S. ring when the two meet in a Showtime main event from Las Veags’ Michelob Ultra Arena.
Tszyu’s first crack at a world title wiull come 28 years to the day that his father, the Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, fought for his first world title. Kostya took the IBF junior welterweight title from Jake Rodriguez with a sixth round stoppage on Jan. 28, 1995, also in Las Vegas.
But Tim says that’s just coincidence, and not something he puts much into.
“When I first was told about the date, I didn’t realize that was the same date my father fought for his first world title,” Tszyu said at a virtual press conference on Tuesday. “I don’t usually believe in fate. I think destiny and fate is something that you have to work for.
“For me, I feel like it doesn’t matter about the bloodline. It’s about what you, yourself put into it. I’ve been eyeing this fight for two years now. It’s been in the back of my mind and I’ve been studying and obsessing over it. I’ve been pushing for this hard. This is the test that I need in my career. This is it for me, kill or be killed.”
Tszyu (21-0, 15 KO) made his U.S. debut this past March in another Showtime headliner, coming off the canvas to beat Terrell Gausha by decision in Minneapolis.
“As soon as I went down against Terrell Gausha, I dominated the rest of the fight,” he said. “Terrell Gausha isn’t a bum. They didn’t just find him out of nowhere. He’s a talented opponent who went to the Olympics and had a great career. Tyson Fury has been down. Some people go down and get right back up. That’s what it’s about. Whatever life throws at you, just get back up. That’s been my mentality.”
Tszyu is confident he can pull what will be an upset, but also isn’t making any bold predictions about knockouts or anything, staying focused on the task and the W.
“I’m not here for a debating contest to say who’s going to win and how I’m going to beat him,” he said. “This isn’t debating for me. I just have to show it in the ring. That’s it. It’s quite simple. I possess a lot of skills as well, so that’s all that’s needed. We’ll show it.
“This is the toughest test out there. Jermell is the king of the division. This is the benchmark. But if you want to be great, you have to do great things and this is part of it.
“In Australia, it was sort of like I was a big fish in a small pond. Now, it’s completely different here in the U.S. It’s sink or swim now. You’re in the big ocean and this is where it all matters.
“I just want to inspire as many people as I possibly can through boxing. We get a lot of attention and a lot of people tuning in, so if you can turn that into a positive energy and change their lives, that’s the main thing.”