Tonight, rising Australian star Tim Tszyu makes a quick turnaround from his dominant win over Tony Harrison back in March. Although Carlos Ocampo doesn’t give him the title challenge he would have wanted, he is a potentially tricky opponent, and it’s nice to see Tszyu not just sitting around waiting for divisional champion Jermell Charlo to be ready for him.
The card will be available in the US on Showtime, starting at 10pm ET. The main event is expected around 12.45AM Sunday. Do bear in mind that because the event takes place in Australia, where it’ll be midday, you’ll find it on boxrec and other listings as a Sunday card. Don’t let that throw you, it does begin Saturday night in the US.
The Preview: How did Tim Tszyu and Carlos Ocampo get here?
Tszyu (22-0-0, 16 KOs) is, as mentioned, in line for a shot at the titles in the division, currently held by Jermell Charlo. They’d already been scheduled to fight, back in January, but a broken hand for the champion put that on hold. Tszyu wasn’t willing to wait around then, fighting and beating the tricky and experienced Harrison (for an interim WBO belt) instead. With the recovery taking longer than anticipated, he’s showing that same eagerness here.
Of course, it may still be the family name that drives that willingness to fight. He wants to succeed on his own terms, not because his father Kostya is an Australian boxing legend. His post-fight cries, last time, of ‘what’s my fucking name’ do suggest that he still feels that pressure, even as he is making his own legacy. Sitting out for long periods may well leave his achievements fading in the mind, so he’s keeping the momentum going.
With that in mind, Ocampo (35-2-0, 23 KOs) is no joke of an opponent. Sure, Tszyu is favourite and for a reason, but the Mexican is a tricky, awkward opponent with high-level experience. Admittedly, the first instance of that saw him get flattened in a round by Errol Spence, back in 2018. But that was a leap for him, and now having settled in at junior middleweight, he’s proved himself a solid fighter. He did lose to Sebastian Fundora last year, but that was a competitive performance against another contender in the division. Tszyu will be expected to win, for sure, but as far as keep-busy fights go, he’s not messing around at all.
The Breakdown: How do Tim Tszyu and Carlos Ocampo match up?
So, what will Ocampo bring to the table that might test Tim Tszyu? Well, for one, he’s going to be happy to make it messy. He’ll get in close- or allow Tszyu to get in close- then start pushing, shoving, and throwing whatever punches he finds space for. That’ll be interesting because although Tszyu showed an improvement in his stance and balance in close last time, Harrison didn’t really test that. Keeping fresh lessons in mind against an opponent who really just wanted to get back to distance is one thing. Keeping that going against someone pushing him every which way will be another.
The flipside of course is that that work to improve will really have been done with opponents like this in mind. When an opponent is trying to push you about, it’s much easier to resist that and fight back if you’re not upright and square with your feet. Removing those tendencies, if he can stick to them, will make this fight a lot easier for Tszyu than it might have been even a year ago. And while he’ll be looking to force it in his opponent, Ocampo himself has a tendency to get himself off-balance in a brawl – if Tszyu stays composed he can certainly take advantage.
The other question he has to answer is volume. It was notable last time out that, although hardly slow, he kept a pretty steady tempo of punches for someone pressing forwards as much as he did. He’s a pressure fighter, yes, but a counterfeiting one, meaning he gets into his opponents’ space, lets them make a move, then responds.That patience makes him difficult to lure into things- but it can provide opportunities for an opponent to take the initiative.
Harrison didn’t. Ocampo probably will. Whether successfully, that’s another question, but he’ll throw first, and not limit himself to skittish jabs. And it’s notable that his loss last year came because Fundora, a constantly-rolling aggressive mauler, outlanded him. Both of those fighters like to have the first and last word in an exchange, and Fundora simply did it better. Tszyu likes to have the last, but he isn’t overly fussed about the first, and that gives Ocampo an opening. If he can find a way to disengage on his terms and have that last punch as he exits often enough, he may have a shot with the judges.
The final note of concern is that Tszyu’s high guard is still pretty bad, leaving him open to body shots, and Ocampo throws those liberally. He landed plenty on Fundora despite him having a good active guard designed to block them- Tszyu on the other hand has not displayed that at all, just sticking his hands to his face and letting whatever happens happen. So Ocampo will land downstairs.
Still, there’s good reason that Tszyu is favourite. Perhaps his biggest advantage here will be positioning, and the thought he puts into it. Ocampo, to put it casually, just does basically whatever. He’ll get to his opponent as quickly as he can, and then expends a lot of energy just trying to shove his way away from the ropes whenever he gets close to them. Actually stepping away and resetting in space isn’t particularly part of his gameplan.
Tszyu, on the other hand, is an excellent ring-cutter, and as long as he can win that physical shoving match – which he should, he’s a big bloke- he should be able to herd Ocampo to the ropes and corners relatively consistently. If he does that, he’ll start to crank up the volume a bit more, and Ocampo hasn’t really shown the tools, or even willingness, to escape. He’ll try to fight his way out, which will make for a fun show, but is probably to his detriment.
So, yes, Tim Tszyu should win, possibly by late stoppage as he cranks the pressure. But it is an opponent who should both bring new challenges for him and give us an entertaining contest, worth tuning in for.
What else is on the card?
The chief support is a title eliminator at super-bantamweight, with Aussie Sam Goodman and American Ra’eese Aleem putting their undefeated records on the line to be next (in theory) for a shot at the IBF title. Goodman is the locally-popular rising star with the promotional push here, but Aleem has been circling a title shot with the various sanctioning bodies for years now without ever getting one. He’ll be fuming if he lets that slip here, so he’ll be up for it. It could be entertaining.
Other than that, there are a couple of Australian title fights going on, with Justin Frost fighting Hassan Hamdan at lightweight and Hasely Hepi fighting Troy Pilcher at heavyweight.
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