Jermell Charlo defended himself after being warned by the World Boxing Organization over his 154 pounds title.
The undisputed champion at super-welterweight, Charlo, had been due to defend his crown against WBO mandatory challenger Tim Tszyu next month.
However, breaking news on Christmas Eve alerted Tszyu and the WBO that the fight would not happen as planned.
Premier Boxing Champions released a statement a short time later.
“Jermell Charlo suffered a broken left hand in training. His much-anticipated, high-stakes defense against number one contender Tim Tszyu, which was scheduled for January 28, has been postponed,” they stated.
PBC continued by outlining further details of the ailment.
Jermell Charlo’s hand injury
“Charlo broke his left hand in two places, between the pinkie and ring finger and at the base of the thumb, after landing a punch in sparring at his gym in Houston on Tuesday.
“After visiting two doctors and a hand specialist in Houston, his hand has been placed in a cast.
“It will remain in a cast for two months. After removing it, he will begin rehabilitation before resuming his training.”
The 32-year-old Louisiana native described the pain sensation as he felt the hang go.
“I was sparring. I threw this nice punch, and I knew something was wrong as soon as it landed. But I felt my hand throbbing right away,” said Charlo.
“I had two X-rays and an MRI to see what was wrong. It showed it was broken in two places. I wouldn’t say I like this feeling.
“My hand will be in a cast for two months. I’m as disappointed as the fans, maybe more. This was my first chance to defend the undisputed title.”
Charlo added that Tszyu was on course for a beating when challenging for his first world title. But for now, he’ll have to wait a little longer.
“The way I am, I would have beaten Tim Tszyu with one hand,” pointed out Charlo. “But the doctors and the boxing commission won’t allow that.
“It’s even more dangerous when a lion faces adversity and has to come back to defend the pride.
“I’ve been training since July, and I’ve been hitting harder than ever, and these are the things that happen when you push yourself to the limits.
“After my hand heals, I’m returning stronger than ever to defend my legacy.”
Tszyu will get his opportunity
Tom Brown, President of TGB Promotions, aired his disappointment. He said: “This is not the news that anyone wants to hear because we’ve been anticipating this fight. But these things happen.
“Jermell didn’t take the easy route to become the undisputed super welterweight champion, so he knows that nothing comes easy.
“Tszyu better be ready. Because Jermell will be stronger and hungrier than ever when he returns.”
Stephen Espinoza, President of Sports & Event Programming at Showtime, added: “Charlo vs. Tszyu for the undisputed super welterweight title is one of the biggest and most anticipated fights on the 2023 boxing schedule.
“So we, like boxing fans around the world, are obviously disappointed to hear of Jermell’s injury and the resulting postponement.
“We wish Jermell a speedy recovery, and we look forward to adding this important fight back to the SHOWTIME schedule as soon as reasonably possible.
“We know both Jermell and Tim are anxious to give boxing fans the all-action fight that we have all been anticipating.”
Giving a short statement himself, Tszyu’s lack of words said all about his feelings. Tszyu may now take an interim fight.
“I’m very disappointed,” said Tszyu. “I felt like the stars aligned for undisputed. But we move on.
“I’m ready to take on the next mandatory challenger. I’ll be back for Charlo once he is ready and healed.”
Shortly after the news came, the WBO told Jermell Charlo they wanted proof of the injury by the end of this week, or his belt and current four-title status could be in jeopardy.
If they aren’t satisfied, it’s possible Tszyu could fight for the vacant or, at the very least, an interim championship.
“Mr. Charlo is hereby ordered to submit within the next five days upon issuance of this notice a detailed medical explanation of his injury, findings, recovery prognosis, and his orthopedic specialist’s opinion as to when he will be physically and medically cleared to compete and return to active competition,” warned the WBO.
“Failure to comply with this order will result in Mr. Charlo waiving all rights hereunder and with the Committee proceeding per WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests.
“Lastly, the WBO World Championship Committee reserves its right to issue all rulings deemed necessary, helpful, and convenient to accomplish the purposes and policies.
“The intent of the WBO Rules and Regulations of World Championship Contests, including serving the best interests in the WBO Jr. Middleweight Division, respectively.”
Upon hearing the WBO’s alert, Charlo denied the postponement was down to a simulated injury or mental health issue.
“Thirty-seven fights in I ain’t never had to postpone [anything]. I’ll never back out or down from any man. I’m the king of 154,” said a defiant Charlo.
“This ain’t no mental health issue. This isn’t any sling you can buy at a pharmacy as Castano did. I will bounce back and give my supporters two fights this year. Stay tuned.”
Charlo vs Tszyu new date
Showtime concluded its own statement by confirming that Charlo vs Tszyu is a priority event for their current calendar.
“Charlo vs. Tszyu remains one of the best matches of 2023, as it pairs two hard-hitting boxer-punchers in a high-stakes bout with Tszyu attempting to dethrone the best 154-pounder in the sport.
“Charlo earned his position as undisputed champion by stopping Brian Castaño in May and unifying all four titles.
“He will look to add another big name to his pound-for-pound resume against the Australian star Tszyu, who hopes to join his father, Kostya Tszyu, as an undisputed world champion.
“There is currently no new date for the rescheduled match. A new date will be announced soon,” they assured fans.