Sources: Tszyu to face Fundora with Thurman out

Sports

Tim Tszyu will defend his WBO junior middleweight title vs. Sebastian Fundora on March 30 in Las Vegas in the main event of PBC’s inaugural PPV on Prime Video, sources told ESPN, after Keith Thurman suffered a biceps injury in training that prompted his withdrawal.

Tszyu, a rising star from Australia, had an opportunity to reach the next level with his most high-profile opponent yet. Instead, the 29-year-old action fighter will face the 6-foot-5, 154-pound Fundora on 12 days’ notice.

It’s quite an adjustment for Tszyu. He was preparing for Thurman, an orthodox boxer coming up from 147 pounds who is 5-8 and likes to box and move. Fundora, known as “The Towering Inferno,” is a southpaw who applies non-stop pressure.

The 26-year-old Fundora hasn’t competed since April, when he suffered a seventh-round KO loss to Brian Mendoza in one of the biggest upsets of 2023.

Fundora (20-1-1, 13 KOs) is aided by the fact he was preparing for a WBC vacant title fight vs. Serhii Bohachuk on the undercard of Tszyu-Thurman. Bohachuk, like Tszyu, is an orthodox pressure fighter.

Fundora, ESPN’s No. 5 junior middleweight, outpointed Carlos Ocampo in October 2022 in his most-recent win. Tszyu (24-0, 17 KOs) knocked out Ocampo in the opening round in June.

That bout was sandwiched last year between Tszyu victories over Tony Harrison (TKO 9 in March) and a unanimous decision over Mendoza in October.

Tszyu, ESPN’s No. 2 junior middleweight, is the son of Hall of Fame boxer Kostya Tszyu. The Thurman bout was set to take place at 155 pounds with no title on the line since Thurman (30-1, 22 KOs) wasn’t ranked by the WBO.

The bout was also set to be Thurman’s first in 25 months.

Thurman, 35, has one career loss. That setback came against the legendary Manny Pacquiao in July 2019, when Thurman was floored in Round 1 and rallied before dropping a split decision.

With Thurman sidelined, PBC will need to replace the Fundora-Bohachuk fight that was set to open the four-fight PPV. Rolly Romero will defend his WBA junior welterweight title vs. Isaac Cruz in the co-feature while Erislandy Lara puts his WBA middleweight title on the line against Michael Zerafa in the third fight.

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