JERMELL CHARLO has been told he must fight Tim Tszyu no later than September 30.
The super-welterweight champion was notified by letter from the WBO who also approved their number one contender’s interim bout against Carlos Ocampo on June 18.
Charlo 35-1-1 (19) has not fought since his all-action rematch against Brian Castano 12 months ago. The stoppage win secured the American’s undisputed status at 154lbs nearly a year on from their first encounter.
The 32-year-old, who turns 33 on May 19, had been set to defend his four belts against Tszyu on January 28 in Las Vegas. Their highly anticipated bout was postponed five weeks out when Charlo suffered a broken left hand in training.
Tszyu 22-0 (16) refused to sit on the side-lines and chose to stay active. The 28-year-old Australian added the scalp of Tony Harrison to his unbeaten record two months ago in Sydney. Harrison had posed some problems early on at the Qudos Bank Arena, but the relentless work-rate and power punching from Tszyu resulted in a ninth-round stoppage.
“The message was sent clearly,” said Tszyu during an in-ring interview afterwards.
“You know what’s up [Charlo]. You know what’s next. I’m coming. I’m coming to Vegas! I’m coming to America!”
The beaten Harrison praised his opponent post-fight.
“He’s rapidly getting better,” he commented.
Back in America Charlo had watched his rival’s performance and told The Last Stand podcast that Tszyu doesn’t impress him.
“He’s strong, he comes to fight but it’s not nothing I haven’t seen before. I’ve been boxing my whole life, seen almost every style.”
Charlo-Tszyu was then targeted for June, but the Texan is still in the process of recovering from his hand injury.
Tszyu has now moved ahead with plans for his 23rd professional bout. Next month ‘The Soul Taker’ welcomes Mexican Carlos Ocamp 34-2 (22) to the Gold Coast Convention Centre in Broadbeach, Queensland. The 32-year-old was in action seven months ago losing to Sebastian Fundora on points.
Should Tszyu emerge triumphant it would leave just over 10 weeks until the WBO’s deadline with no sign of a Charlo comeback in sight.