Jermell Charlo’s inaugural undisputed title defense against Tim Tszyu, first revealed five months ago, finally has a home. Showtime announced today that the January 28th showdown will land at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.
Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KO) will have been out of action for eight months dating back to his epic knockout of Brian Castano in last May’s rematch. The reason was reportedly twofold: he underwent hand surgery following that win, then PBC apparently didn’t have any dates for the October showdown Tszyu (21-0, 15 KO) wanted.
Not sure how that in any way justifies keeping an undisputed champion on the sidelines that long with Tszyu, Sebastian Fundora, Bakhram Murtazaliev, and Israil Madrimov all waiting on their shots, but I guess that’s the modern hurt business.
But don’t let my whinging about Charlo’s Gary Russellian activity level fool you: this is a really, really good matchup with as much action potential as anything on the schedule. It’s an unreasonably hard puncher against a massive, ultra-aggressive stalker, and depending on how you rate Madrimov, it might be the toughest test still available for Charlo at 154 pounds.
And hey, at least they didn’t put it on PPV.
“I’m excited to be back in the ring to defend my undisputed crown,” said Charlo. “I’m thankful for everything I’ve accomplished, but the battle isn’t over. Tim Tszyu is a young, hungry, aggressive fighter but I’m a pound-for-pound great. I reign as the undisputed champion and if anyone wants a shot at the crown, they gotta see me.
I’m not going anywhere. I want all my fans to tune in because once again, it’s Lions Only time and I plan to light up Las Vegas and show the world that I’m the most dangerous fighter in the sport, regardless of division.”
“Jermell is a great, smart fighter and has been for many years - becoming undisputed is an incredible achievement. But his time is over now, because I’m about to shock the world and take over,” said Tszyu.
“It’s going to be a great fight as neither of us know how to take a backward step and are going to be swinging from the start with very bad intentions. I’m preparing for a bloody war as I know he is too. I’ve already been grinding for months and I’m in the best shape of my career. The groundwork was laid in Australia and Thailand but I’m here now in the U.S. to take it to the next level, which is exactly what’s needed when you’re fighting for the undisputed championship of the world.”