Undisputed Super Welterweight World Champion Jermell Charlo and unbeaten No.1 contender Tim Tszyu previewed their highly-anticipated showdown during a virtual press conference that got testy on Tuesday before they rumble for real live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, January 28 from Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas headlining a Premier Boxing Champions Event.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by Lions Only Promotions, TGB Promotions, No Limit Boxing and The Rose Brothers are on sale now and can be purchased through AXS.com.
One of the most anticipated matches of 2023, Charlo vs. Tszyu sets up to be the latest of many memorable clashes in the recent history of the stacked 154-pound division. Charlo earned his position as undisputed champion by stopping Brian Castaño in May and unifying all four titles. He will look to add another big name to his pound-for-pound resume against the Australian star Tszyu, who hopes to join his father Kostya Tszyu as an undisputed world champion. In a fortuitous stroke of chance, Kostya fought for his first world title in Las Vegas on the same date 27 years ago that Tim will now face Charlo in his first championship bid.
Here is what the virtual press conference participants had to say Tuesday:
“I’m excited to be in the ring. This is how I feed my family and I’ve done significant things in this sport. I get to choose who I want, but I want to challenge myself. With every fight I step up to the plate to challenge myself, not my opponents. Y’all know what I do and y’all know what I go into the ring to do. It’s a ‘don’t blink situation.’ That’s just who I am.
“I knew that once I got to this point in my life, that I’d face nothing but top tier guys. That’s all I want. I don’t underestimate anyone, but Tim Tszyu is not the same caliber as I am. His father has done things in boxing, but my pedigree is strong. My pedigree is proven and has been destined for many years.
“Tszyu is young and hungry but I’m young and hungry as well. I’m in the prime of my life and I’m going to challenge myself on January 28.
“I’m thankful for my experience in the ring and in life. Every fighter gets in the ring to give the performance of a lifetime. If he’s studied me, he would know that I’m a different fighter in every fight. I know how to adjust and make them precisely. I take care of my brain, my body and my mind. It’s important to me.
“What I possess is undeniable. I’m very humble at the end of the day because we all come to win. There’s much respect to any boxer who comes into that ring. But I’m different. I’m different than anybody else in the pound-for-pound list. I still don’t get the respect that I deserve, but I don’t worry about it. I keep that same energy.
“I’m about my business. I’m not arrogant. I’ve been through humbling lessons that he knows nothing about. I’m not worried about anything he says.
“People come out to see me because I’m entertaining. I am who I am. I worked my ass off my whole life. I didn’t just start this. I’m more dedicated now than I’ve ever been. I like when my opponents talk, because I’ve been able to shut up a lot of people.
“Nobody is ready for me in my division. Everybody is training and says they’re ready. We’re just going to go in there and entertain the people.
“I can stay in this division for my whole career. I can’t predict the future, but I’m ready to get it on as fast as y’all are ready to see it. I make this weight easily. Boxing is a lifestyle for me. We’re going to enjoy it later.
“Every fight is a legacy fight for me. I stand strong by that. I have a good team and a great support system. I’ve been in competition ever since I was born and raised with my twin brother. I’m a different genre.”
“There’s going to be a new king of the division on January 28. I can promise non-stop action. Keep those belts shiny because I’m coming to grab them.
“This fight has been a long time in the making for me. I’ve been chasing this, so I’m glad that it’s finally come. I’m excited to get this opportunity. Christmas and all of that doesn’t matter right now. There’s only one task in mind. I came to America for a purpose. Not to just come here for the fight. My plan is for victory. I came here to adapt a bit earlier and I’ll be 100 percent ready on January 28.
“When I first was told about the date, I didn’t realize that was the same date my father fought for his first world title. I don’t usually believe in fate. I think destiny and fate is something that you have to work for. For me, I feel like it doesn’t matter about the bloodline. It’s about what you, yourself put into it. I’ve been eyeing this fight for two years now. It’s been in the back of my mind and I’ve been studying and obsessing over it. I’ve been pushing for this hard. This is the test that I need in my career. This is it for me, kill or be killed.
“As soon as I went down against Terrell Gausha, I dominated the rest of the fight. Terrell Gausha isn’t a bum. They didn’t just find him out of nowhere. He’s a talented opponent who went to the Olympics and had a great career. Tyson Fury has been down. Some people go down and get right back up. That’s what it’s about. Whatever life throws at you, just get back up. That’s been my mentality.
“Yes, my father will be in attendance for the fight. It will be good. He hasn’t been to any of my fights for logistical reasons since my first fight. To have people who have been there and done that, it brings a cool energy.
“I’m not here for a debating contest to say who’s going to win and how I’m going to beat him. This isn’t debating for me. I just have to show it in the ring. That’s it. It’s quite simple. I possess a lot of skills as well, so that’s all that’s needed. January 28, we’ll show it.
“This is the toughest test out there. Jermell is the king of the division. This is the benchmark. But if you want to be great, you have to do great things and this is part of it.
“This fight just feels like normal to me. Of course, the occasion is going to be big. It doesn’t get any bigger than undisputed. It’s like the Super Bowl or the NBA Finals. I’m nice and relaxed. I’m taking it day by day, but to me, it’s like any other fight.
“In Australia, it was sort of like I was a big fish in a small pond. Now, it’s completely different here in the U.S. It’s sink or swim now. You’re in the big ocean and this is where it all matters.
“I just want to inspire as many people as I possibly can through boxing. We get a lot of attention and a lot of people tuning in, so if you can turn that into a positive energy and change their lives, that’s the main thing.”
“The super welterweight division has delivered memorable fight after memorable fight in recent years, and the division’s king, Jermell Charlo, will be back to defend his crown and add another chapter to that history on January 28 in Las Vegas,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions. “This is a battle of contrasting styles as Jermell Charlo brings his special blend of power and sublime ring skills against unbeaten Tim Tszyu, who will bring an aggressive style and championship pedigree into a matchup boxing fans around the world are looking forward to. Make sure you’re at Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas or watching live on SHOWTIME, because this is a fight you won’t want to miss.”
“This marks Jermell’s 16th appearance on SHOWTIME, and it’s been a privilege watching him develop into the consensus No. 1 fighter in the division and one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the sport,” said Stephen Espinoza, President, Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “Stylistically, Charlo vs. Tszyu is one of the most attractive fights that can be made in boxing, given Jermell and Tim’s aggressive temperaments in the ring. Kudos to them both, and everyone involved, for putting this fight on SHOWTIME. After hosting Tim’s U.S. debut in March, we’re thrilled to see him challenge Jermell and dare to be great like his father Kostya, who fought on the network 10 times. Both Jermell and Tim have never shied away from a challenge, and this stacks up to be a real Fight of the Year type match-up.”
Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) propelled himself to undisputed champion by fighting and beating the best in the division including Castaño, Jeison Rosario, Tony Harrison, Austin Trout and Erickson Lubin. The 32-year-old from Houston won his first title with a stunning knockout of John Jackson for the vacant WBC championship in 2016 and successfully defended the title three times, knocking out Charles Hatley and Lubin, and scoring a unanimous decision over Trout. He suffered his first loss via unanimous decision to Harrison on a card that he shared with his twin brother, WBC Middleweight Champion Jermall Charlo, in 2018.
After rebounding with a KO victory over Jorge Cota, Charlo stepped into the rematch with Harrison and avenged the loss in resounding fashion with a knockout victory in round 11. He then challenged WBA/IBF champion Jeison Rosario in an electrifying unification bout and made a statement with an eighth-round knockout in 2020. With the undisputed championship on the line, Charlo faced Castaño and fought to an exciting draw before once again prevailing in a rematch with a 10th-round stoppage. Charlo will ride that victory and a groundswell of confidence into his match against the unbeaten Tszyu.
“I’m excited to be back in the ring to defend my undisputed crown,” said Charlo. “I’m thankful for everything I’ve accomplished, but the battle isn’t over. Tim Tszyu is a young, hungry, aggressive fighter but I’m a pound-for-pound great. I reign as the undisputed champion and if anyone wants a shot at the crown, they gotta see me. I’m not going anywhere. I want all my fans to tune in because once again, it’s Lions Only time and I plan to light up Las Vegas and show the world that I’m the most dangerous fighter in the sport, regardless of division.”
The 28-year-old Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs) has quickly climbed the rankings in the 154-pound division with an all-action, aggressive style. The notable names on his resume include former welterweight champion Jeff Horn, whom Tszyu stopped in round eight, and Terrell Gausha, a top contender and member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic team. A native of Sydney, Australia, Tszyu made his U.S. and SHOWTIME debut against Gausha and showed his poise and toughness by rallying back from a first-round knockdown to defeat Gausha via unanimous decision.
Tszyu grew up playing soccer, but soon gravitated toward boxing. The decision led to him following in the legendary footsteps of his father, Kostya, who was an undisputed 140-pound champion and who was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011. The match against Charlo will represent an opportunity for Tszyu to blaze his own trail in boxing, joining his father in the club of undisputed world champions.
“Jermell is a great, smart fighter and has been for many years – becoming undisputed is an incredible achievement. But his time is over now, because I’m about to shock the world and take over,” said Tszyu. “It’s going to be a great fight as neither of us know how to take a backward step and are going to be swinging from the start with very bad intentions. I’m preparing for a bloody war as I know he is too. I’ve already been grinding for months and I’m in the best shape of my career. The groundwork was laid in Australia and Thailand but I’m here now in the U.S. to take it to the next level, which is exactly what’s needed when you’re fighting for the undisputed championship of the world.”