Australian boxing got a look at the next generation when 24-year-old Tim Tszyu showed off his supreme talent to claim the Australian super welterweight title against Joel Camilleri.
The night was earlier marred by a “rubbish” bout from retired NRL star Justin Hodges, but was saved by the final three fights on the card.
Kyron Dryden defeats Jim Nalawa via TKO (1:12 Round 1)
Ross Pearson defeats Salar King via TKO (4:14 Round 2)
Justin Hodges defeats Troy McMahon via KO (0:20 Round 1)
Jai Opetaia defeats Navosa Ioata TKO (Round 8)
Ty Telford and Jack Brubaker ends via unanimous draw
Tim Tszyu defeats Joel Camilleri via unanimous decision (99-91, 98-92, 99-91)
Tszyu claims title, calls out Horn
The son of an Australian boxing icon has written his name into the record books with Tim Tszyu claiming the Australian super welterweight title.
Defending champion Joel Camilleri frustrated the young fighter in the early going with his constant movement as Tszyu struggled to find his range with the moving target.
But Tszyu, in only his 13th fight, kept his composure and eventually began to land his heavy hands in the middle rounds.
As the fight went deep into the rounds Tszyu managed to become more dominant and continued to pick off the defending champ.
Camilleri didn’t make it easy throughout the fight and continued to weave his way around the ring, but in the end he was no match for the power and precision of Tszyu.
“I’m the best in the country,” Tszyu said after the fight.
“I learned more in this fight than I have in my entire career.”
When asked what’s next, the crowd began to chant Jeff Horn’s name and Tszyu responded by telling Horn to call his manager.
“Mr Jeffrey Horn, the teacher, you’ve got my manager’s number you call him when you’re ready,” Tszyu said.
“Whenever he wants to go, call my manager.”
Horn who was in commentary on the night, responded to being called out by the youngster.
“It’s pretty funny, I don’t think he’s ready just yet. He’s got another couple of fights to prove it,” Horn said.
Round by round scores.
Round 1: The crowd is behind the up and coming Tim Tszyu and while Joel Camilleri was bouncing around the ring and smiling, both struggled to find their range. Tszyu 10-9.
Round 2: Tszyu struggling to find the range as Camilleri continues to mix up his range and he’s opened up a cut over the left of Tszyu. Tied up 19-19.
Round 3: The experience of Camilleri is starting to annoy Tszyu as he moves all around the ring and not make it easy for the youngster. Camilleri 29-28.
Round 4: A strong round from Tszyu as he landed far more telling blows to the ever moving Camilleri. Tied up 38-38.
Round 5: The halfway mark and it’s still impossible to split. Tszyu potentially getting on top, but Camilleri isn’t going to make it easy. Tszyu 48-47.
Round 6: Camilleri has started to slow down from the early going and Tszyu now with a more stationery target is starting to find his range. Tszyu 58-56.
Round 7: Tszyu landed some heavy shots that hurt the champ and while Camilleri attempted to push the pace, it was the big shots that give it to his opponent. Tszyu 68-65.
Round 8: Another round for Tszyu, but by no way is he dominating this fight. Camilleri is wearing a lot of his punches and keeps coming forward. Tszyu 78-74.
Round 9: Camilleri continues to weave his way around the rim and frustrate Tszyu, but it’s Tszyu who is landing the more telling blows. Tszyu 88-83.
Round 10: Camilleri attempted to dance and ignite the crowd, but Tszyu was in control of the bout and landed big shot after big shot. Tszyu 98-92.
‘Absolute rubbish’: Hodges’ fight slammed
Justin Hodges stepped into the ring for his second ever fight and in less than 30 seconds it was all over.
An overhand right from Hodges brushed the temple of Troy McMahon and had him stumbling backwards onto the ropes.
Hodges looked at the referee before moving forward and landing a few more blows before dropping McMahon with an uppercut right.
The ugly fight drew widespread criticism and when Hodges’ hand was raised a loud chorus of boos reigned down upon him.
Telford and Brubaker in ‘absolute war’
The card continued on its upward trend as Ty Telford and Jack Brubaker traded blows in what Barry Michael described as “an absolute war”.
The two men traded heavy blows throughout the entire ten rounds, and in the end the judges couldn’t split the two men.
Michael and Jeff Horn sitting in the commentary box couldn’t believe what they were watching as the two warriors left it all in the ring.
Both landed big clean hits to the body and chin throughout the entire ten rounds.
Every time Telford looked to have Brubaker in trouble, he somehow fought back and put the heat back on his opponent.
The fight went the distance and as soon as the final bell rang the entire audience in attendance stood off their seats and applauded the absolute slugfest between the duo.
Dominant fight from ‘future world champ’
Fans were left seething after Justin Hodges’ second professional bout, but they were greeted to a much better display in the next fight.
Jai Opetaia and Navosa Ioata touched gloves and went to work and put on a show for those in attendance.
The taller Opetaia controlled the fight and kept Ioata at bay with his lengthy jab, but on a few occasions Ioata was able to slip inside and land powerful blows.
In the end it was the power and precision of Opetaia that became too much for Ioata and his corner threw in the towel.
Opetaia’s display drew heavy praise from former IBF super featherweight champ Barry Michael who labelled him a “future world champion”.
Real deal Pearson gets it done
Former UFC fighter Ross Pearson made his professional boxing debut and looked right at home inside the squared circle.
The 34-year-old Englishman, known as ‘Real Deal Pearson’ predicted a knockout finish to his first bout, while the end didn’t come via his opponent being knocked out it was a dominant showing from Pearson.
A stand up fighter in the UFC, Pearson controlled the bout from the opening bell and dropped his opponent three times in two rounds.
The fight was eventually waved off when Salar King failed to overcome a second fall in the second round.
Hodges’ hands being wrapped
Justin Hodges getting ready for his second professional bout with Troy McMahon and sitting the chair having his hands wrapped.
Gallen spears old rival Hodges
Paul Gallen has brushed off any interest in fighting retired NRL star Justin Hodges to finally settle their State of Origin feud.
Hodges returns to the ring on Wednesday night against Troy McMahon where the former Broncos star will hope to legitimise his claim for higher profile opponents.
However, the man he’s forever been linked with, Gallen, has laughed off any interest in making the fight happen.
Gallen says Hodges is nothing more than an afterthought, preferring instead to fight more established opponents.
Gallen comfortably knocked out former NRL bad boy John Hopoate in less than two rounds in February and has made no secret of his intent to fight one more time when he hangs up his footy boots in October.
Gallen has previously called out Warriors beast Manu Vatuvei after conceding his dream fight with Sonny Bill Williams is unlikely to happen.
Gallen has told Nine’s Wide World of Sports, his potential fight with Hodges would never be sanctioned by the government combat sports authority because Hodges would simply be out of his depth.
“I’d flog him,” Gallen said.
“The fight will never happen. I don’t reckon he’s got the ability to step in the ring with me.
“I don’t understand why he’s said I want to fight him because I never beat him in Origin — I’ve never said I wanted to fight him. He’s the one who said he wants to fight me and looking at his ability, I don’t reckon the fight would be allowed.
“But if he wants to keep calling me out … like I said to John Hopoate, be careful what you wish for.”
Gallen said he’s seen video footage of Hodges sparring against former dual international Lote Tuqiri.
The former Blues captain said it made for ugly viewing.
He also paid out Hodges and McMahon as both not being up to the standard of a professional boxing bout.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful to his opponent that he’s about to fight, but he hasn’t got an athletic bone in his body,” Gallen said.
“Hodgo’s a world-class athlete, fighting a bloke like that.”
Tszyu’s promise to clean out Australian boxing
Russia and America are on the radar, but fast rising young boxer Tim Tszyu starts his campaign to clear out Australian opposition against national super welterweight champion Joel Camilleri on Wednesday.
The eldest son of former undisputed light welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu, 24-year-old Tim (12-0, 10 KOs) headlines his first pay-for-view card when he challenges Camilleri (17-5-1, 8 KOs).
Both men came in slightly overweight at the first time of asking for Wednesday’s fight at The Star in Sydney.
Camilleri removed his underwear immediately and then made the limit, Tszyu did likewise around ten minutes later.
Beating Camilleri is the first leg of a proposed four-fight plan to clear out the Australian competition for Tszyu, with Michael Zerafa, Dwight Ritchie and former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn also on the hit list.
“You’ve got to be number one in Australia, you’ve got to test yourself here,” Tszyu told AAP.
“It’s like climbing a mountain, you can’t go straight to the top, you’ve got to walk, run whatever you’ve got to do, but you’ve got to slowly get up there, that’s the plan.” Tszyu’s manager Glen Jennings has made no secret of the plan, but stressed his charge wasn’t looking past Camilleri.
“We’ve got some big fights in front of us, people may think we are overlooking stuff, we aren’t,” Jennings told AAP.
“We know Joel Camilleri is a good fighter and Tim has got to take care of him Wednesday night and do it in a very bold fashion.
‘Then we’ll move on and we’ve got a bit of a plan moving forward. “But the day will come overseas, we’re looking forward to that, there’s already an option for Russia and there is already an option for the US.”
Camilleri, who is the betting outsider, believes his experience and pressure will be too much for Tszyu.
“Get on the inside, work, show my toughness and I’ll get the job done,” Camilleri told AAP.
World ranked cruiserweight Jai Opetaia and former league star, Justin Hodges will feature on the undercard, along with the boxing debut of former UFC fighter Ross Pearson.
— with AAP