Tim Tszyu vs. Tony Harrison: Duel Down Under

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A classic matchup of styles goes down Saturday night in Australia as unbeaten hometown favorite Tim Tszyu battles former world champion Tony Harrison in a 154-pound PBC headliner on SHOWTIME.

This Saturday, March 11, from Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, undefeated Australian superstar Tim Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs)  takes on former world champion Tony “Superbad” Harrison (29-3-1, 21 KOs) for the vacant Interim WBO Super Welterweight Title atop a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL telecast (10:45 p.m. ET/7:45 p.m. PT) will feature undisputed Super Welterweight World Champion Jermell Charlo on commentary, alongside host Brian Custer, Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein and three-division world champion Abner Mares at the CBS Studios in New York City. 

The Story

Tim Tszyu was supposed to have faced the aforementioned Charlo in January, but an injury forced the defending champ to withdraw from the contest. The son of Hall of Famer and former unified 140-pound titlist Kostya Tszyu now finds himself facing the skilled and well-seasoned former world champ Harrison for the interim title.

Thus far in the 28-year-old’s pro career, he’s dominated in bouts against the likes of former welterweight champ Jeff Horn, Dennis Hogan, and Steve Spark. In his most recent contest, Tszyu faced his most complicated opponent to date, Terrell Gausha, and survived a first round knockdown to take a well-earned unanimous decision victory.

Tony Harrison became a world champ in December 2018, upsetting Jermell Charlo for the WBC 154-pound belt. In his first defense, however, he’d lose the belt back to Charlo via eleventh-round stoppage in a Fight of the Year-level scrap that was dead even until the very end.

Since the Charlo loss, Harrison suffered through the tragic COVID-19 death of his father and trainer Ali Salaam and has gone 1-0-1 in his last two outings. In April of 2021, he fought to a draw with Bryant Perrella but bounced back with a wide unanimous decision over Sergio Garcia in April 2022. 

The Stakes

At stake is the Interim WBO Super Welterweight Title and a shot at undisputed four-belt division kingpin, Jermell Charlo.

The Matchup

Tszyu is a come-forward fighter with good pop in both hands. Topping his arsenal is a heavy right hand that can cause damage from any angle thrown and a potent left uppercut. He’s also adept at working the body, an aspect of his game that has been a prominent factor in just about every one of his high-profile victories.

The second generation star fights with supreme confidence and has yet to appear unsure, unsteady, or troubled by anything he’s faced in the ring.  

Tszyu has shown some very real defensive liabilities and he’s taken some big shots, even against lower-level opposition. Although he keeps his hands high, he can still be touched fairly easily and will need to improve his defense and upper-body mobility now that he’s fighting next-level opponents.

I'm going to give my fans a big KO victory. Unbeaten Super Welterweight Contender - Tim Tszyu

Harrison is a poised, disciplined fighter who works his sharp jab well to control the pace and space of a bout. His best offensive weapons are the jab and a quick right hand follow-up. 

Educated early in his career by Hall of Famer Emanuel Steward at the legendary Kronk Gym, the 32-year-old has solid form with a good sense of timing and smart, efficient movement. He’s also proven himself to be an unflappable combatant with a good ring IQ.

On defense, Harrison relies on his reflexes as well as a very good sense of space and timing.

The Words

Tim Tszyu

"I can't underestimate Tony Harrison, but with the way I've been training, I'm extremely confident that I'm going to give my fans a big KO victory. Full credit to him for taking the challenge and coming to Australia, but he's going home empty-handed. It's exciting that my fans in the U.S. will be able to watch this matchup on SHOWTIME and I hope they're ready to see a great atmosphere and a thrilling fight."

Tony Harrison

"I'm here on a mission. My only focus is on Tim Tszyu. I'm extremely confident in my abilities and in my training, but I know Tim is going to be tough competition. I can't wait to see the crowd all out there to support him, because I'm going to give them no choice but to love me too. I hope he's ready for 12 grueling rounds, because I'm ready to go as long as he can last."

The Breakdown

Tszyu excels at what he does and has proven himself dominant against lower-level opposition. He’s largely untested, however, against more multi-dimensional foes. Against his most complicated opponent to date, Gausha, he was dropped by a straight right hand in the first round but responded well to the setback. Harrison is a level above Gausha, at least in the areas of high-end experience and consistency. This will be a big step up for the Australian.

Harrison, for as good as he is, has gotten the reputation of fading late in bouts. He’s also been accused of fighting without a sense of urgency, giving away close rounds to more active opposition. He’ll have to stay active throughout this contest to get the nod against Tszyu, who is busy by nature and will be fighting with home field advantage.

The former champ definitely has the tools to beat Tszyu, though. His jab, alone, could control the bout and bust the loose-guarded Aussie to a pulp. A reach advantage of more than four inches could facilitate that beating. 

It’ll be imperative for Tszyu to stay on top of Harrison, disrupt his rhythm and keep him from finding the space he needs to extend his long arms. Tszyu also has the tools to beat Harrison. 

Expect a compelling battle of styles on Saturday, with Tszyu looking to break Harrison down while Harrison looks to pick Tszyu apart. 

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

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