Australia’s Tim Tszyu’s world title fight off as Jermell Charlo moves up two weights

Australian boxer Tim Tszyu’s slated mega-fight with Jermell Charlo is officially off after the American opted to take on Mexican superstar Canelo Álvarez instead.

Charlo will move up two divisions to fight Álvarez for the undisputed super-middleweight crown in Las Vegas on 30 September.

That date is precisely the deadline the WBO had imposed for Tszyu and Charlo to square off for all four super-welterweight belts.

Tszyu and Charlo had initially been scheduled to fight on 29 January before Charlo reported two broken bones in his left hand last Christmas.

With Charlo moving up to challenge the so-called face of boxing, the WBO is expected to elevate the undefeated Tszyu from interim to full world champion.

But Saturday’s shock revelation is still a hammer blow to the Australian.

Tszyu had retained the interim title with a spectacular first-round knockout of Mexican Carlos Ocampo on the Gold Coast two weeks ago.

Asked after that victory if he expected Charlo to front up and step into the ring with him, Tszyu rejected the suggestion the American was evading him.

“He hasn’t been dodging me,” Tszyu said. “He’s been injured.”

Tszyu had seemingly changed tune after hearing the news, suggesting Charlo was ducking the world title fight.

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“Canelo ducks benavidez. Charlo ducks Tszyu,” he said on Instagram.

Injured or otherwise, Tszyu (23-0, 17KO) is now one of the most avoided boxers on the planet.

Team Tszyu is understood to have been blindsided by the Charlo-Álvarez plans and only found out via social media on Saturday morning.

The Álvarez-Charlo blockbuster is believed to be the first ever showdown between two undisputed divisional champions.