AUSSIE light-middleweight Tim Tszyu has his eyes firmly set on a clash with WBO champion Brian Castano, but first he has the small matter of a November fight with Takeshi Inoue to contend with.
Tszyu is seen as a fighter on the up and is the mandatory challenger for Castano’s belt, but rather than wait for the Argentinean and his team to come calling, he will put his undefeated 19-fight record (15 KOs) on the line against Japan’s Inoue.
Bookies have Tszyu as one of the hottest favorites in boxing this year, the 26-year-old trading at 2/25 (-1250) to win – bet $25 and get $27 back if the Aussie is successful. Inoue is 13/2 (+650) to pull off an upset, but Tszyu is already thinking about world title belts in 2022, reported Offers.Bet.
Tszyu could face either Castano or Jermell Charlo next year, the Louisiana man holding the WBC, WBA and IBF titles, and the Aussie is already planning on collecting all the belts in the light-middleweight division.
A unification bout between Castano and Charlo in July in San Antonio, Texas, saw a contentious draw, with many watchers believing Castano had done enough to win the clash. It was the classic boxer versus fighter duel, with Castano seen as producing the more clinical work, and one judges score of 117-111 in favor of the American leaving many at the fight scratching their heads.
While a rematch between the champions is on the cards, Tszyu is waiting in the wings to take on either if they are forced to defend their belts before a second fight can be arranged.
While Inoue is up next to take on Tszyu, the pre-fight talk is less about the threat of the Japanese fighter and more about the potential for a series of unification bouts with the two champions. Aussie Tszyu is more than happy to talk one, two and even three fights ahead of his November clash.
“Look, Castano, he’s going to be a tough challenge,” said Tszyu, who is the son of boxing hall of famer and former world light-welterweight champion Kosta Tszyu.
“Charlo, I don’t rate Charlo. I never did. To fight for all the belts, you know what? I’d prefer winning each belt one by one, just like Canelo Alvarez did. You get to take out every champion and everyone that’s in the division instead of just one.
“Castano is a tough competitor. He’s awkward, he’s tough. And Charlo’s just overrated. Charlo’s just in a world of his own. I thought Charlo was going to win, but in my eyes, I think Castano won that fight. He’s only small and he always makes it into his fight, so the aim is to make his fight into my fight."
Both Castano and Charlo have weighed in with their opinions of Tszyu’s credentials for a world title fight, claiming he has yet to come up against anyone of either champions’ standing.
The ten-round clash with Inoue, 31, will be held in Sydney, Australia, the fourth time the Japanese fighter has fought outside of Japan. Inoue has a 17-1-1 professional record and is ranked seventh by the WBO. With his only defeat in a world title fight in 2019 against then-champion Jaime Munguia.