Tim Tszyu vs. Brian Mendoza: Power and Will Power

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It's a battle of explosive heavy hitters as undefeated Tim Tszyu puts his WBO Junior Middleweight World Title on the line against the powerful Brian Mendoza Saturday night on SHOWTIME.

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Tim Tszyu vs Brian Mendoza PREVIEW: October 14, 2023 | PBC on SHOWTIME

This Saturday, October 14, from the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia, undefeated Australian superstar and WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion Tim Tszyu (23-0, 17 KOs) looks to make the first defense of his title against upset specialist Brian Mendoza (22-2, 16 KOs) atop a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL telecast (10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT) also features rising Australian contender Sam Goodman against former world title challenger Miguel Flores in a 12-round featherweight contest.

The Story

Tim Tszyu, with a fan-friendly style and a heaping dose of charisma, has quickly become one of the most entertaining all-action fighters in the sport. In March of this year, the son of Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu captured the WBO Interim Junior Middleweight Title with a career-best performance, stopping former world champ Tony Harrison in nine rounds. 

In his last fight, this past June, Tszyu destroyed tough Mexican Carlos Ocampo in the first round. Other high-water mark victories on his resume have come against former world champ Jeff Horn, Steve Spark, Takeshi Inoue, and, in his U.S. debut, Terrell Gausha. 

The 28-year-old was recently elevated to full world champ status by the WBO after the sanctioning body stripped Jermell Charlo of that designation for moving up in weight to challenge Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

Brian Mendoza is coming off the biggest win of his career, this past April, when he upset rising star Sebastian Fundora via seventh round KO to take the WBC Interim Junior Middleweight Title. 

The Fundora shocker would be the second straight eye-catching upset victory for the 29-year-old Albuquerque, New Mexico native who fights out of Las Vegas under the tutelage of renowned trainer Ismael Salas. In November of last year, he stopped former unified junior middleweight champ Jeison Rosario in the fifth round with a brutal show-closing uppercut. In 2021, he went the distance in a losing effort against well-regarded young star Jesus “Mono” Ramos.

The Stakes

At stake is Tszyu’s WBO Junior Middleweight Title and a spot near the top of the competitive 154-pound division. 

The Matchup

Everything positive regarding Tim Tszyu was confirmed in his last two bouts-- dominant stoppages of Tony Harrison and Carlos Ocampo. 

A tenacious, come-forward fighter with power in both hands, his biggest offensive weapons are a potent right hand that can cause damage from any angle thrown and an uppercut that can alter the course of a fight in an instant. He’s also adept at working the body, an ability that has been a factor in nearly all of his high-profile victories.

On defense, Tszyu still has some liabilities and it’s not exceedingly hard to touch him. His aggressive mindset and offensive prowess, however, have thus far kept opposition from being able to launch sustained offensive surges.

This is my time and my division now. Undefeated WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion - Tim Tszyu

Mendoza is a tough, physically strong, and tenacious fighter who is all-around solid on offense. His best offensive weapons are a big left hook, a thudding right hand, and a jolting uppercut. His work to the body is an overlooked aspect of his game and one which has played a factor in his recent ring success. 

Bringing with him durability and old school toughness, he’s come a long way, developmentally, working with Ismael Salas and sparring with names such as Erislandy Lara and Yordenis Ugas in the past. 

Mendoza has improved defensively, but his work in that area is still an “in progress” effort. Although he can be touched, he’s worked hard at improving his head movement and picking off incoming shots with his gloves.

The Words

Tim Tszyu

“Brian and I are both in that top one percent of fighters in the world. He’s a style I haven’t faced before and I know he thrives on that underdog mentality. So, he of course has my respect. But he’s in there with someone that's a different breed and it’s not going to end well for him. I promise to turn any remaining non-believers into believers. This is my time and my division now.”

Brian Mendoza

“Fighting for the world title is an incredible opportunity and I’ll be ecstatic when I win, because the dream isn’t just to fight for the title, the dream is to bring it home to my family. I’m in the best shape of my life and ready to put on another explosive performance. I’m going in there to lay it all on the line, because I know that winning this fight will change my family’s life for generations to come.”

The Breakdown

This fight, given the styles and the mindsets of both combatants, is going to be more of a blood and guts battle than a boxing match.

The questions will be whether Mendoza has the chin and the general wherewithal to take what Tszyu can deliver and, conversely, whether Tszyu has an extra level of firepower when/if Mendoza can handle  his early heat. 

Mendoza has proven himself to be physically sturdy with a solid chin and a warrior’s resolve. He’s also a better boxer than many acknowledge. Tszyu, however, has opened a lot of eyes with his offensive prowess and has quickly earned a reputation as one of the best attackers in the sport. 

Expect the challenger to work at blocking, dodging, and rolling with the champion’s heavy-handed shots while looking for openings to land his own. Ultimately, though, Mendoza’s chance for a third straight upset will come down to his ability to weather an early storm or two. If he can survive Tszyu’s best, he has a very good chance of testing Tszyu’s own chin and resolve. Then, things will get extra interesting.

Tszyu vs. Mendoza this Saturday will put the spotlight squarely on power and, also, will power in what should be a compelling kill or be killed contest. 

For a closer look at Tszyu vs. Mendoza, check out our fight night page. 

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