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Stakes raised in Vegas for Tim Tszyu who will have to surrender his world title belt if he loses to Keith Thurman – even though it's a non-title bout

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  • Aussie boxer Tim Tszyu is fighting Keith Thurman in Las Vegas
  • If Tszyu loses, will have to relinquish WBO super welterweight title
  • Tszyu, 29, is targeting bout against welterweight king Terence Crawford

Aussie boxer Tim Tszyu will be stripped of the WBO super welterweight title if he loses to American star Keith Thurman in Las Vegas this month – even though it isn’t an official title bout.

The upside for Tszyu is if he wins, a dream fight against undisputed welterweight king Terence Crawford is likely to follow.

Tszyu (24-0) was awarded the WBO title in 2023 after former champion Jermell Charlo was stripped of the belt – before the Aussie defeated Brian Castano to retain it in October.

Main Event presenter and boxing identity Ben Damon tweeted the development involving Thurman on Friday.

‘The WBO has raised the stakes,’ Damon said. ‘With the decision that Tszyu will be stripped of his world title if he loses the 155 [pound] non-title fight with Thurman.’

Aussie boxer Tim Tszyu will be stripped of the WBO super welterweight title if he loses to American Keith Thurman in Las Vegas this month - even though it isn't a title bout

Aussie boxer Tim Tszyu will be stripped of the WBO super welterweight title if he loses to American Keith Thurman in Las Vegas this month – even though it isn’t a title bout

The upside for Tszyu is he wins against Keith Thurman (pictured left) on March 31, a bout against undisputed welterweight king Terence Crawford is likely to follow

The upside for Tszyu is he wins against Keith Thurman (pictured left) on March 31, a bout against undisputed welterweight king Terence Crawford is likely to follow

It is understood WBO president Paco Valcarcel is happy for Tszyu to fight Crawford if he is triumphant on March 31 in Sin City (AEST) – but also knows a potential duel between Thurman and ‘Bud’ Crawford would appeal to many boxing fans.

The bombshell development also makes Tszyu’s Las Vegas debut even bigger as he looks to extend his unbeaten career record that spans over eight years.

In 2023, he won plenty of admirers after getting the better of Tony Harrison, Carlos Ocampo and Mendoza.

Thurman (30-1-1) has fought just once in the past four years – ruling him out of title contention – but his fearsome reputation ensures he still looms as one of the biggest threats to Tszyu’s impressive record. 

In January, Team Crawford trainer Bernie Davis labelled Tszyu ‘the most attractive’ option for his fighter – an indication the son of Kostya Tszyu is impressing the people that matter in the sport.

Tszyu also recently confirmed talks between his camp and Crawford’s have already commenced.

‘There have been talks between us,’ he told Fox Sports. ‘And I give Crawford all respect. He’ll fight anyone.

‘And that’s why I see him as such a great challenge….but I also see him as being beatable.’