In a bout that has been keenly anticipated by the boxing community, Australia’s Tim Tszyu is set to make his first defence of his WBO junior middleweight belt against American Brian Mendoza on October 15, 2023. The match comes with enormous implications, thanks to a recent WBO decision that will elevate Tszyu to full champion status once Jermell Charlo steps into the ring with Canelo Alvarez on September 30th.
This contest will mark Tszyu’s third professional bout in 2023, following his victories over Tony Harrison and Carlos Ocampo. Tszyu has been vocal about his excitement for the forthcoming fight, stating, “I’m expecting a war and I’m expecting Mendoza to test me more than any other fighter. He has power in both hands and has shown he thrives off being that underdog, so I doubt coming to Australia will bother him but don’t expect a single person to be cheering for him.”
Tszyu continued, “This was the fight to be made and the only fight that had me pumped up. Styles make fights and it has the potential to be a banger because we both go looking for the fight, have heavy hands and chase those killer knockouts everyone loves to replay over, and over, and over again. The road to undisputed continues, it’s just going to take a little longer. But trust me, the journey to get there will be way sweeter.”
Mendoza is no slouch either, having defeated Jeison Rosario before achieving a stoppage victory over Sebastian Fundora in his last outing. Currently the WBC interim champion, Mendoza’s status adds an interesting wrinkle: if he were to become the full WBC champion before the bout, Tszyu’s fight with Mendoza could potentially turn into a unification bout.
The victor could be looking at even larger prizes down the road. If Charlo returns to the 154-pound weight class after his fight with Canelo, the winner could be in line for an undisputed championship bout. Additionally, opportunities may arise to defend the title against Terence Crawford or Errol Spence, should either decide to move up to 154 pounds.
Given these stakes, Tszyu has been openly ambitious about his career trajectory, viewing this fight as a stepping stone to even greater achievements. “We’re the two next pitbulls in the division… It’s a tremendous challenge and I look forward to taking it with both hands,” he said at the fight’s announcement. When speaking with Main Event, he further elaborated, “We’re the two top dogs in the super welterweight division because the other bloke did a runner. Number one versus number one.”
Mendoza, meanwhile, exudes confidence as he prepares for his first professional fight in Australia. Boasting a 22-2 record with significant knockout power, he promised, “You can definitely expect an explosive performance and fireworks. Big time fireworks.” Mendoza believes his work ethic and adaptability will be his trump cards. “Like I’ve been saying with all of my past opponents, I bring something to the table that they haven’t seen before. I can do a little bit of everything… I can adapt. It’s my work ethic that pays off in these fights. I work harder than anybody else in the world,” he stated.
Regarding his opponent’s accolades and capabilities, Tszyu remains unfazed. “In all honesty, anyone that puts gloves on has some sort of power. Us boxers, we’re paid killers basically. It’s what we do,” he opined. “In all honesty I couldn’t care less about what he’s done. I’m focusing on myself. I couldn’t care less about his knockouts and his ability.”
Beyond this significant bout, both fighters have their eyes on even bigger prizes. Tszyu has been candid about wanting to face major names in the sport, such as Errol Spence and Canelo Alvarez, and aims to become “the face of boxing worldwide.” Mendoza, on the other hand, views Tszyu as a “big name in the division,” acknowledging that he’s been on his radar for quite some time.
As it stands, this bout represents a key milestone for both fighters. It’s a collision of ambition, power, and skill, set against the backdrop of a rapidly shifting boxing landscape. With Charlo and Canelo also in the mix, and other major names like Terence Crawford and Errol Spence looming large, the Tszyu-Mendoza match could very well determine the next superstar of the division. One thing is certain: when these two athletes meet in the ring, expect a battle of not just fists, but also wills. And as Tszyu has astutely pointed out, “I’ll have to work on staying sharp for the whole 12 rounds.”