Popular undefeated hometown favorite Tim Tszyu dominated former world champion Tony Harrison with a ninth-round TKO to win the Interim WBO Super Welterweight title Sunday in a SHOWTIME BOXING INTERNATIONAL main event live on SHOWTIME® before 11,740 rabid pro-Tszyu fans at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia.
With the win Tszyu became the mandatory challenger to undisputed super welterweight king Jermell Charlo. At the time of the stoppage, all three judges were in agreement scoring the bout 77-75 in favor of Tszyu after eight completed rounds.
When asked after the fight what the win means, Tsyzu yelled into the mic, “It means I’ve beat the man who beat the man!”
Tszyu was then asked if he had a message for Charlo: “The message was sent clearly. You know what’s next, you know I’m coming.”
The undisputed king of the 154-pound division, Charlo joined the SHOWTIME announce team live from the CBS Studios in New York City as a special guest.
“He’s going to be a tough fight because he’s coming forward,” Charlo said following the telecast. “But I think he’s perfect for my style. He fits suitably well for me. I know he can’t take my punch because I know my punch is different. I think he’s going to do the same thing (when he fights me). He’s not going to change up much. Seeing him tonight just made me want to fight and be back in there, to get this over with, to just shut him up. I’ve shut up a lot of fighters. He’s just another one.”
Tszyu (22-0, 16 KOs) – who elected to face the veteran Harrison after Tszyu’s scheduled match with Charlo on January 28 was scratched when Charlo broke his hand in training – simply outboxed and out-performed Detroit’s Harrison (29-4-1, 21 KOs).
“The better man won,” Harrison said. “They’ve done a good job over there. His timing, his reaction is very good. He just beat me, so all I can say is he’s up for Charlo.”
Harrison started quickly, but soon felt Tszyu’s power as Harrison was rocked by an overhand right late in the third round that staggered Harrison, a sequence that was repeated again at the end of the fourth round.
Harrison hit back in the sixth, landing more shots than Tszyu and displaying his defense as Tszyu missed on several swings. It was more of the same in the eighth as Tszyu continued his relentless pressure and started out-landing Harrison. Harrison had had enough in the ninth, finally hitting the canvas but beating the 10-count to continue the battle until the referee ended matters.
The 28-year-old Tszyu, who made his SHOWTIME debut in March 2022 with a win over Terrell Gausha, is the son of International Boxing Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, who competed on SHOWTIME 10 times and had some of his most memorable fights on the network. Kostya Tszyu was unable to attend the Sunday fights because his daughter and Tim’s half-sister has been ill.
“We will always have respect for each other, but tonight I proved I was the better fighter,” Tszyu said of Harrison. “The way my career has unfolded has been step by step, all the way to the top. That’s my mentality as a fighter. When I’m presented an opportunity like Charlo, of course I’m going to take that. And when I get an opportunity to face Tony Harrison, of course I’m going to take it.”
Harrison said he wasn’t sure what the future would hold. “The boxing [stuff] is hard. I’ve been doing this since I was five. I don’t know if I want to spend the next five, six years getting hit in the face. My brother [trainer LJ Harrison] had the perfect game plan, but sometimes when you get in there you forget.”