The highly-anticipated junior middleweight unification bout between undisputed titleholder Jermell Charlo and mandatory challenger Tim Tszyu will not take place this summer.
According to Tszyu, the unbeaten Charlo (35-1, 19 KOs) has not fully recovered from the hand injury he sustained last December.
The pair were initially slated to meet on January 28 in Las Vegas. However, Charlo broke his left hand in two places, between the pinkie and ring finger, and at the base of his thumb, during a sparring session in Houston. Doctors ordered him to wear a cast for two months before beginning rehabilitation.
Tszyu went on to fight Tony Harrison, the only fighter to defeat Charlo, last month, and dominated the former world champion en route to a ninth-round TKO in his native Australia.
The 28-year-old Tszyu (22-0, 16 KOs) told Fox Sports that he will take another stay-busy fight by early June to keep his tools sharp for a Charlo fight, which will take place “at the end of August, early September” at the earliest.
“Oh, for sure [I'm frustrated]. The bloke hasn’t fought for 12 months. How long can you keep postponing a fight?,” Tszyu explained. “I’m not sure [how bad his injury is]. But the medical reports say [that he should be healed]. All I can do is focus on myself.
“I think he understands this isn’t an easy fight for him. And so he wants to be 120 percent ready. I think before he was taking me lightly. Saying he was going to beat me with one hand. That he was ready to fight with one hand. Now he knows though. So he’s taking his time. He will try and postpone it for as long as he can.
“Somebody that is going to give me a challenge. I want to keep improving and have that attitude of fear no one, fight anyone. For me, the main factor is growth. Staying active, getting another style in front of me and being able to adapt to anyone.”
Charlo, 32, unified all four junior middleweight titles with a 10th-round knockout of Brian Castano last May 14 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. 10 months prior, Charlo and Castano fought to a controversial draw at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
Tszyu is the son of Hall of Fame boxer Kostya Tszyu. The Australian made his U.S. debut last year with a unanimous decision victory over perennial contender Terrell Gausha.