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Tim Tszyu is a step closer to a megafight with undisputed 154-pound champion Jermell Charlo after the WBO ordered the American to defend his belt against the undefeated Australian.

Tszyu has been the WBO’s No.1 mandatory challenger at junior middleweight for more than a year, prompting the sanctioning body to intervene following Charlo’s victory over Brian Castano last month.

Also the holder of the WBC, IBF and WBA belts, Charlo’s win in California elevated the 32-year-old into boxing immortality as only the seventh man in history to claim the four major straps in one division.

Now Tszyu has the chance to emulate his legendary father Kostya, who unified the junior lightweight division in 2001 with a second-round knockout of American Zab Judah in Las Vegas.

Both camps have a deadline of June 20 to make the fight, proposed for August 28, or a purse bid will be held.

“The WBO World Championship Committee hereby orders the parties herein the commencement of negotiations for the above-mentioned WBO Jr. Middleweight Mandatory Championship Contest,” the WBO statement said.

“Please be advised that the parties have twenty (20) days upon receipt of this letter to reach an agreement.

“If an accord is not reached within the time frame set forth herein, a Purse Bid will be ordered pursuant to the WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests.

“The minimum acceptable bid for the WBO Jr. Middleweight Division is $200,000 (AU$278,552). Any of the parties involved may request a purse bid procedure at any time during the negotiation process.

Charlo 35-1-1 (19KO) is among several fighters gaining consideration for inclusion in ESPN’s top-10 pound-for-pound rankings.

Tszyu (21-0, 15KO), is currently No. 4 in ESPN’s junior middleweight rankings. He is also rated No. 2 in the WBC and No. 3 in the IBF.

Tszyu told AAP last month he would ask his promoters to set up any showdown with Charlo in the US, but it’s understood No Limit Boxing are trying to convince the 28-year-old to let them bring the fight to Australia.

Information from the AAP was used in this story

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