Believing he has not earned his world champion status, Australian boxing star Tim Tszyu intends to knock out American underdog Brian Mendoza to achieve it.
The 28-year-old was crowned WBO super welterweight world champion this week after Jermell Charlo was stripped of the title for walking away from the Tszyu fight to face Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Tszyu was installed as WBO champion as soon as Charlo entered the ring to face Alvarez.
Charlo was then defeated in 12 rounds in the Las Vegas superfight.
But Tszyu (23-0, 17KO) hasn’t felt any different since. In fact, he doesn’t feel like he won “in the eyes of the books.”
“They say you dream of being world champion and this and that. I’m still the same old guy. Nothing has changed at all,” he said on Wednesday.
“I’m just focused on Mendoza right now. I feel like I want to win it that way.
“I will feel like a world champion once this fight is over.”
Tszyu scored a brutal knockout victory over Tony Harrison in Sydney in March to claim the interim title before successfully defending it in June on the Gold Coast with an even more impressive stoppage of Mexican Carlos Ocampo.
The Sydneysider will return to the Gold Coast to fight American Mendoza (22-2, 16 KOs) on October 15.
Mendoza is coming off back-to-back wins over Jeison Rosario and Sebastian Fundora and holds the WBC interim light middleweight title, giving Tszyu the chance to emulate his legendary father Kostya as a unified world champion.
But while Mendoza promises another surprise, Tszyu admits the fight will be a “huge challenge”.
“It’s a style I’ve never encountered before, but I’m aware it’s the next 1 percent,” Tszyu said.
“There’s a certain level of respect. The fact that he’s been the underdog in so many fights – for him, he’s seriously coming on.
“But everyone can trust. Everything changes when you get punched in the face and when you’re put with someone of a different race.
“I know I am (a different breed).”
Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) was scheduled to fight Tszyu for all four belts this year, but withdrew twice, the second time to move up two weight divisions to face undisputed super middleweight champion Alvarez ( 59-2-2, 39 KO).
Tszyu scoffed at Charlo calling him a “paper champion… who didn’t do any bullshit in boxing,” given the American’s evasive nature.
However, a victory against Mendoza would put this duel back on the agenda.
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