Jermell Charlo still hasn’t been able to hit the heavybag, but he’s confident his injured hand, once recovered, will be sturdier than ever.

The undisputed junior middleweight champion from Houston, Texas, offered an encouraging assessment of his broken hand, which required him to swaddle it in a cast for nearly two months.

The injury, which occurred in December, led to the postponement of a scheduled fight with mandatory challenger Tim Tszyu on Jan. 28 in Las Vegas. Instead of waiting for Charlo, Tszyu, 28, pivoted to a fight with Tony Harrison, whom he wound up stopping in nine rounds earlier this month at Qudos Bank Arena in Tszyu’s hometown of Sydney, Australia. Harrison defeated Charlo controversially in their title match in 2018.

Charlo, who said he broke his hand during a sparring session, said he plans to be patient during the rehab process so that the same issue for his hand does not crop up later on, especially during a fight.  

“The hand is going [well],” Charlo told Brian Custer on The Last Stand Podcast. “I just doing everything I can with rehab. I haven’t been able to [train]. I have not punched yet. When you break two bones in one hand, it takes a lot to [recover]. The hand is real delicate. These are my moneymakers. It’s gonna be stronger than what it was before. I’m doing a lot of exercises and work to make sure I’m stable. I don’t want to get in there and shatter a hand during a fight or place myself in a position where I gotta have [another] issue.

“I was in a cast for about six, seven weeks,” Charlo continued. “I remember going back and they put me back in the cast but finally I was able to get out of the cast and doing rehab, putting the weight back on. Still to this very day, taking time out. … I’m working. I got some time, but I’ll be back.

Asked when he thinks a fight with Tszyu will materialize, Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs) suggested either July or August.

“By the end of the summer or something,” Charlo said. “Hopefully … the middle of this year, it could be August, it could be July, it could be whenever.”