Time to cut the cuddles, Tszyu tells US opponent

America's Tony Harrison gave Tim Tszyu a big hug when they met for the first time on Tuesday, but the Australian title hopeful is promising next month's bout will be less love and more war.

Harrison touched down in Sydney earlier before he and Tszyu faced off for the first time on the red carpet at the premiere of Creed III.

The pair will meet in the ring at Qudos Bank Arena on March 12 for the interim WBO super-welterweight belt.

They shared a warm embrace before a stony face-to-face pose in front of the cameras, with Tszyu warning the 32-year-old Harrison (29-3-1, 21KO) the time for niceness was over.

"He looks fragile," Tszyu said. "I've been sparring big strong, unbreakable blokes.

"If it goes past four (rounds) he'll be in trouble.

"My aim is to grab him by the neck and pull him down into the ocean and let him sink.

"That'll start from round one and we'll see when he wants to get air, because he won't get any air."

The winner of their bout is likely to meet undisputed world champion Jermell Charlo, who was forced to pull out of a January fight with Tszyu due to a hand injury.

The fight with Harrison represents a risk to Tszyu's hopes of taking on Charlo and unifying the division, but the 28-year-old said next month's meeting was arguably a greater test.

"He (Harrison) is from the Cronk Gym, he's got a good jab and movement," Tszyu said.

"He's slick and hard to hit, it's a different type of opponent to one I've ever faced. I'm not underestimating him, this is going to be a tough fight.

"He's got better skills than Charlo, he beat Charlo (in 2019 on unanimous decision).

"Styles make fights but just because you've got better skills doesn't mean you're going to win all the time.

"The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward, aim for the stars."