Jermell Charlo suffered a broken left hand in training and will have to pull out of his defense of the undisputed junior middleweight championship against Tim Tszyu, which was set for January 28 in Las Vegas.
Charlo (35-1-1, 19 knockouts) reportedly broke his left hand in two places – between the pinkie and ring finger and at the base of the thumb – while landing a punch in sparring at his Houston training camp on Tuesday. The 32-year-old visited two doctors and a hand specialist, and had his hand placed in a cast, according to a press announcement.
The cast will remain on for two months, after which he will undergo rehabilitation.
“I was sparring, and I threw this nice punch and as soon as it landed, I knew something was wrong. I felt my hand throbbing right away,” said Charlo of the injury.
“I hate this feeling…I’m as disappointed as the fans, maybe more, because this was my first chance to defend the undisputed title.”
Premier Boxing Champions says there is no new date for the fight to be rescheduled, but that one would be announced “soon.” There is no word yet if the show, which was to headline a Showtime Championship Boxing card at the Michelob Ultra Arena, will proceed with a new main event.
“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 coming back stronger than ever to defend my legacy,” said Charlo.
Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs), who is rated no. 1 by the WBO and WBC, says he isn’t letting the change in plans derail his own title aspirations.
“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.”
The fight was to be Charlo’s first since settling his previous draw with Brian Castano, knocking him out in ten rounds in May, to unify all four belts at 154 pounds. Tszyu, 28, the son of boxing legend Kostya Tszyu, was to be stepping way up in class after getting off the canvas in his last bout against Terrell Gausha to win a decision in March.
Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].