There won’t be an American judge seated ringside for Brian Mendoza’s first fight outside of the United States.
BoxingScene.com has learned that judges from Australia (Adam Height), Hungary (Zoltan Enyedi) and Japan (Katsuhiko Nakamura) have been assigned to score Mendoza’s shot at Tim Tszyu’s WBO junior middleweight title. An American referee, Nevada’s Kenny Bayless, will be the third man in the ring when Mendoza meets Australia’s Tszyu on Saturday night at Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach, Australia.
Enyedi and Nakamura also judged Tszyu’s last fight against an American opponent in Australia. They had Tszyu ahead of Detroit’s Tony Harrison by the same score, 77-75, entering the ninth round of a 12-round fight in which Tszyu (23-0, 17 KOs) dropped and stopped Harrison (29-4-1, 21 KOs) on March 12 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Tszyu’s hometown.
The third judge who worked the Tszyu-Harrison fight was Canada’s Benoit Roussel. The Quebec-based Roussel also had Tszyu in front 77-75 through eight rounds.
Height hasn’t judged any of Tszyu’s 23 bouts since Kostya Tszyu’s son made his pro debut in December 2016.
Seven of Tszyu’s past nine fights have resulted in knockout or technical-knockout victories for him. Mendoza (22-2, 16 KOs) has not been knocked out in 24 professional fights, though. He has lost only an eight-round split decision to Larry Gomez (then 9-1) in November 2019 at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and a 10-round unanimous decision to Jesus Ramos (then 16-0) in September 2021 at The Armory in Minneapolis.
The 29-year-old Mendoza produced perhaps the “Knockout of the Year” in his last fight, when he unloaded a left-right-left combination that knocked out Sebastian Fundora early in the seventh round. Fundora led Mendoza on all three scorecards – 60-54, 60-54, 59-55 – through six rounds of action April 8 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The Albuquerque native won the WBC interim super welterweight title from Fundora (20-1-1, 13 KOs). He is not ranked in the WBO’s top 15 because he holds at least an interim title from another sanctioning organization.
Tszyu will make his first defense of the WBO junior middleweight crown since he was elevated from interim champ to full champ September 30, when Jermell Charlo was stripped of that title. The 28-year-old Tszyu had long been the WBO’s mandatory challenger for one of Charlo’s championships, but their January 28 fight was postponed due to Charlo’s two fractures in his left hand and ultimately canceled altogether once Charlo chose to challenge Canelo Alvarez for his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles last month at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Showtime will televise Tszyu-Mendoza in the United States as the main event of a doubleheader scheduled to start at 10:30 p.m. EDT (7:30 p.m. PDT). Australian junior featherweight contender Sam Goodman (15-0, 7 KOs) is set to meet Miguel Flores (25-4-1, 12 KOs), of Spring, Texas, in the 12-round opener of Showtime’s broadcast.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.