Australian boxer Tim Tszyu claimed the interim WBO super welterweight title with a ninth-round knockout against Tony Harrison in Sydney, proving his credentials for the undisputed title fight against Jermell Charlo later this year.
The victory marked the biggest win of Tszyu’s career, with his previous best being a triumph over Terrell Gausha in his US debut in Minneapolis 12 months ago.
The fight was labelled as a ‘risky’ one for Tszyu, and the early rounds proved to be an arm-wrestle with Harrison showcasing his impressive jab. However, Tszyu slowly gained the upper hand and was able to pressure the American into the ropes, pummeling him with hooks and uppercuts round after round.
Eventually, Harrison’s defence broke down, allowing Tszyu to land a series of devastating uppercuts before a final hook proved to be the finishing blow. Although a dazed Harrison got back to his feet on the nine count, the fight was waved off as he was unable to continue.
“He’s the man that beat the man. I just beat the man that beat the man. What does that make me?” said Tszyu after the fight, referring to Harrison’s earlier victory over Charlo.
Despite the dominant display, Tszyu credited his opponent, acknowledging that Harrison’s jab had been a dangerous weapon throughout the match.
“You know, he had the jab and I had to be smart,“Tszyu said. “The respect is always there for each other. Tonight was the night that I proved that I am the better man.”
Harrison, who copped several uppercuts flush to the chin, posted a short message on Twitter after the fight, admitting that the “better man won tonight” with “no excuse.”
Commentator Shawn Porter was unimpressed with the amount of damage Harrison was allowed to take by the referee, saying that “that’s vicious punching” and that action needed to be taken.
Meanwhile, Aussie boxing fans went “absolutely berserk” on social media after Tszyu delivered on his pre-fight promises.
Tszyu’s younger brother, Nikita Tszyu, also picked up a victory on the undercard, moving to five unbeaten wins with a knockout victory over Bo Belbin.
Tszyu (22-0-0, 16 KO) now has the chance to follow in the footsteps of his father, Kostya Tszyu, who unified the light-welterweight division in 2001 with a second-round knockout of American Zab Judah in Las Vegas. Charlo (35-1-1, 19KO), who is ranked among the top 10 pound-for-pound fighters in the world, is Tszyu’s next target, and his promoters from No Limit Boxing are promising to “do everything” to bring the fight to Australia. However, the blockbuster is almost certain to take place in the US, possibly even at the MGM Grand, where Kostya Tszyu KO’d the previously unbeaten Judah 21 years ago.