Junior Middleweight Boxing: Where Is This Era Going?
Boxing Junior middleweight, which direction this era will take when Team Tszyu vs Tony Harrison takes to the ring this weekend. Whoever wins this weekend in the clash between 32-year-old former WBC super welterweight world champion Tony Harrison (29-3-1, 21 KOs) and Tim Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs), the sport of boxing will be remains to be the best.
However, that doesn’t mean we can be sure where it’s going. The 154 pound class is still in the midst of one of its most enduring and entertaining eras. The era isn’t over yet, but this weekend’s winner, which airs Saturday night in the United States, (Showtime, 10:45 PM EST) can say a lot about just how much longer this era will last.
Harrison will travel to Tszyu’s Australian home turf for a bout that was not originally planned and has high stakes for both of them. For Harrison, this may be the best chance he has to secure a rubber match against the undisputed world junior middleweight champion, Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs). K
The two split their first two matches with Harrison winning a widely debated unanimous decision in 2018 and Charlo avenging his only loss with an eleventh-round knockout the following year. In three fights since his second encounter with Harrison, Charlo went 2-0-1, scored two knockouts, and unified all major titles in his class.
Until and unless he meets Harrison again, they will forever be tied in the official record books. Harrison could make more people care about that with a win over Tszyu. Tszyu could have taken an easier path than the one he is currently on. He had a title shot against Charlo before an injury delayed the contest.
The son of Kostya Tszyu, one of the greatest junior welterweights of all time, has fought against veterans such as former world welterweight champion Jeff Horn, Dennis Hogan, and American Olympian, Terrell Gausha. Against Gausha, Tszyu was able to bounce back in the first round and claim the victory, showing that he is not just an athlete with a big name.
Facing Harrison while he waits for Charlo to recover, could ultimately cost him a title shot (putting his WBO title fight aside this weekend). It can also make him a better and more serious challenger with a win. Charlo would easily be Tszyu’s toughest professional opponent.
On paper, Harrison still lives up to that title. This is a step forward, a challenge and a risk for Tszyu. With a win, he will enter the fight against Charlo not only as a mandatory opponent, but as a worthy challenger. He gets the opportunity to play within the framework of this sport. This weekend, he has the opportunity to deepen his skills in the title fight.
Boxing in 2023 is off to a great start across all platforms. This fight looks like it will be a win for the matchmakers. So, aside from shaking up the odds for Charlo on his return, how will this fight impact the resilience of this era at junior middleweight?
Calendar will answer it.