#1 WBO 154-lb contender Tim Tszyu (19-0, 15 KOs) will be facing Takeshi Inoue (17-1-1, 10 KOs) on November 17th in Australia instead of his hoped-for opponent Tony ‘Super Bad’ Harrison.
Tszyu’s management wanted the former WBC junior middleweight champion Harrison, but he reportedly decided to go in another direction. You can’t blame Harrison.
With Tszyu’s punching power, he’s not the ideal opponent for Harrison to be taking with him trying to rebuild after being knocked out by Jermell Charlo in their rematch in December 2019.
Former world champions Liam Smith and Danny Garcia were two other names in the running for a fight with Tszyu. Either of those guys would have been far more interesting to see as an opponent for Tszyu than Inoue.
It’s not that Inoue isn’t a good fighter because he is an excellent solid contender. However, Inoue has never won a world title before, and he’s fought non-world class opposition through most of his career to get him to this point.
Tszyu, 26, is facing the best possible opponent he can get to keep him in the queue for a world title shot against WBO junior middleweight champion Brian Castano in 2022.
There is risk involved for Tszyu, the son of former boxing great Kostya Tszyu, in taking on Inoue because he’s a tough fighter that is relentless.
This is not the type of opponent that Tszyu can afford to gas out against because he’ll get stopped by Inoue if he fades. But Tim is likely counting on knocking Inoue out early enough to where he won’t need to be concerned with running out of gas in the later rounds.
Inoue, 31, is ranked #7 with the World Boxing Organization at 154. He fought for a world title in January 2019, losing to former WBO champion Jaime Munguia by a 12 round unanimous decision in Houston, Texas. The fight wasn’t so competitive, though, as Munguia had too much size, power, and offense for the much smaller 5’8″Inoue.
Despite the loss, Inoue has won his last four fights and is ranked #7 with the WBO. His opposition, however, has been no-name fighters that even hardcore boxing fans likely have never heard of before.
Inoue doesn’t like the idea that Team Tszyu picked him out because they see him as a non-threat to Tim. The Japanese slugger Inoue says he will make Tszyu “reget” that he picked him out.
Tszyu didn’t have to take this fight, as he could have sat and waited to fight the winner of the undisputed championship rematch between IBF/WBA/WBC champion Jermell Charlo and WBO champion Brian Castano and fought for all four titles in 2022.
“Probably because among all the world-ranked boxers, they consider me a low-risk opponent,” said Inoue to FOX Sports. “I believe they will regret it.
“I think we’ll start off exchanging jabs, then slug it out on the inside. In the later rounds, I’ll break his heart and win,” said Inoue.
We’ll see how well Inoue stands up to the punching power of Tszyu on November 17th. Tszyu has knocked out his last five opponents dating back to 2019, and he seems to be only getting stronger at this stage of his career.