Sat. Showtime 9:30pm cst, at the Gold Coast Convention Center in Queensland, Australia newly elevated WBO World super welterweight champion, Tim “the Soul Taker” Tszyu(23-0, 17kos) will make his inaugural defense against the upset minded Brian “La Bala” Mendoza(22-2, 16kos). The match is to take place on Sunday, October 15th, but through the magic of time zones, America gets to tune in on the customary Saturday night. As an aside, i would like to extend my condolences to fight fans in Europe, who will be losing sleep in order to see this one live.
Tszyu had worked his way to the WBO interim title in March of this year when he defeated highly skilled former unified champion Tony Harrison by 9th round TKO. Not one to wait around for his mandatory shot at the undisputed champ, Jermell Charlo who was inactive due to injury at the time, Tim Tszyu opted to keep fighting and took on the resilient and dangerous Carlos Ocampo in June. The fight was expected to be a tough one for the Aussie, but he saw and opportunity early and won by knockout in 77 seconds of the first round. Charlo was stripped of his title and the WBO announced Tszyu as their world champion on September 30th. It isnt just his power and explosive nature that got him to the top of the 154 lb division, though it does help. His ability to use the ring to maintain a steady aggression while remaining quick and accurate with his counterpunching is something to be reckoned with. That said, with every fight he seems to improve in one aspect of his game or another.
No stranger to being underestimated, Brian Mendoza has been the betting underdog in his last 5 fights. He won 4 of them. 3 by knockout. Though Mendoza has been defeated twice, both by decision, he has consistently shown that he has enough skill, grit, and power to strike worry into anyone considered the favorite. His last outing against previously undefeated rising star Sebastion Fundora is a perfect example. Down on all three of the judge’s scorecards, Mendoza used both hands to send “the Towering Inferno” crashing to the canvas in dramatic fashion and catapulted himself into title contention.
The appeal of this fight is apparent. Both boxers have enough power to end this fight early, and the styles to make for a barn burner. Both are extremely motivated. Mendoza is in the rare position to elevate himself to where every fighter wants to be. Regardless of what it says on paper, Tim Tszyu considers himself to be in the same boat. Claiming that he looks at this match-up to be for the belt, as opposed to his first official defense, which pretty much tells you what you need to know about Tszyu. Australia is certainly in for a treat, as is anyone who tunes in around the world.
Also featured on the card:
Sam Goodman vs Miguel Flores -Featherweight
Sergei Vorobev vs Wade Ryan -Super Welterweight
Nathaniel May vs Jackson John England -Super Featherweight