Tim Tszyu was too young, too big, too strong, too fresh, and too sharp for former welterweight titleholder Jeff Horn today in Australia, dominating the fight from start to finish, and the finish came after the end of eight rounds, when Horn’s corner stopped the one-sided beating.
The 32-year-old Horn (20-3-1, 13 KO) seemed to think he was going to be able to muscle the younger Tszyu on the inside, but Tszyu (16-0, 12 KO) met Horn straight up on every tussle, clinch, and damn near wrestling tactic the veteran tried.
With the inside game taken away, Horn had only his toughness and the hope for a miracle shot, and while the toughness was still there, he couldn’t dent the 25-year-old Tszyu even with the best shots he did land.
Tszyu, meanwhile, was able to load up on right hands repeatedly, using his length effectively when he could manage to keep Horn from recklessly lunging in and tying him up. He hurt Horn over and over again, to the head and with some great body work, too, and had Horn down in the third round and again in the sixth, the second time seeing Horn take a knee, exhausted and being battered.
Horn probably held on even longer than he should have, but his spirit and grit have never been questioned, and that won’t be after today, either. He took an absolute beating in this fight and gave everything he had. But Tszyu was simply way too much for him in pretty much every way.
“All respect to Jeff. He’s achieved so much, he’s given Australia this platform,” Tszyu said after what is easily the biggest win of his career to date. “It’s an honor to have an event like this with another fellow Australian. He was a tough competitor. But this is a young man’s sport, and I was better this time.”
Tszyu is now talking world title, which may have to wait given the COVID-related travel restrictions around the world, but the energy and the belief is definitely there.
“Give me competition, someone who can test me,” he said. “It’s sink or swim, and I’m not gonna sink. I’m here to swim. I want the real world title straps around my waist soon.”
Horn wasn’t exactly dejected, but he gave Tszyu full credit and respect for the victory.
“Tim was young, hungry, he’s an absolute champion. I can’t put anything past him. Hopefully all of Australia can support him now,” Horn said. “He now is the No. 1 in Australia. He earned it today. He can fly that flag very proudly.
“He’s very good. He was on his game, and I wasn’t probably on my game, but that’s all credit to Tim, who was out-boxing me out there. He’s got that young blood. Not that I’m old, I’m not. But Tim’s got that hunger about him. I’ve been there, done that, but he was very hungry for that win. He’s got that champion spirit in him. I can feel it.”
There is some chance, perhaps, that Horn will hang up the gloves, but 32 isn’t old, even if he’s “an old 32,” and there will be money for him to fight again in Australia. A rubber match with Michael Zerafa could even do well. But the world stage is beyond him at this point, and it may be a question of whether or not he wants to become “Jeff Horn: Australian Veteran” instead of “Jeff Horn: Hopeful World Title Contender.” He’s 2-3 in his last five fights and took a beating in every one of the losses.
Isaac Hardman TKO-1 Jamie Weetch
Hardman, 24, is a middleweight prospect getting some buzz in Australia, and watching this you can see why. Weetch came at him and was there to throw down, but Hardman’s size advantage was really notable, and he pretty much ended it when he caught Weetch (12-4, 5 KO) coming in with a clean and very sudden counter shot, and Weetch went down hard. Weetch did get up, but he was fighting on instinct from there, and Hardman was unloading against the ropes when Weetch’s corner threw the towel at 2:20.
Hardman (7-0, 6 KO) has feuded with Joel Camilleri a bit on social media, and as Camilleri had also won on the undercard earlier in the evening, Hardman was asked about that potentially coming next.
“Camilleri fought like a chicken with his head cut off, he looked like an idiot,” Hardman said. “If he wants to, but I don’t think he’s even worth it.”
Liam Wilson KO-2 Jackson Woods
The 24-year-old Wilson is a very good looking junior lightweight prospect, and though he got tagged early by Woods in the first round, he roared back to batter the ex-Olympian with body shots, putting the fight away late in the second round.
Woods (4-2-1, 4 KO) came here to fight, but once he felt Wilson’s power to the body it was basically over. He was hurt and went down moments later in the first round, but managed to survive the rest of the frame. Still, the writing was on the wall. Wilson (7-0, 5 KO) stayed patient in the second, found the body shot again, and finished things at 2:42.
The broadcast talked about Wilson liking his chances against IBF 130-pound titlist Joseph Diaz Jr, which you can kind of understand because Wilson ripped Jesus Cuadro out in two in February, whereas Diaz was flat in a majority decision win over Cuadro in 2019. But I think you have to consider that Diaz was generally displeased going into that fight with Cuadro — he was upset that that was the fight he had, he was upset with his promoter at the time, and he definitely wasn’t at his best. But Diaz, when focused — which he certainly would be now — is a massive step up from the guys Wilson has faced. I love the bravado and this kid clearly has skills and power, but you don’t want to throw him in too deep this early, either.
Shannon O’Connell TKO-7 Kylie Fulmer
There was some legit concern on paper coming into this. O’Connell’s never been an elite fighter, but she’s fought for world titles a few times — never won one — and definitely knows what she’s doing in the ring. Fulmer, meanwhile, is 38, six of her seven fights had come in Tijuana, and she’d never faced someone with a winning record. In other words, a handful of red flags, and some fear of another Miranda Adkins.
But Fulmer was a lot better than Adkins. I mean, she was a little flat-footed and pretty pedestrian in terms of overall skills, but she also proved herself very tough, landed the occasional good shot, and carried herself like a trained fighter.
She gave her absolute best effort here, but O’Connell (19-6-1, 10 KO) was just way too good for her, battering Fulmer (7-1, 6 KO) repeatedly until knocking her into the ropes early in the seventh, at which point referee Chris Condon called it off. Fulmer’s corner were upset about the stoppage, but she’d been eating a lot of clean shots. Again, she was very tough, even when she got knocked down she didn’t quite go down, she bounced off the ropes. But O’Connell was a different class of fighter.
Joel Camilleri UD-8 Adam Copland
The 30-year-old Camilleri, really a junior middleweight but fought here as a middleweight, pretty well dominated the 24-year-old Copland, really a super middleweight but fought here at middleweight.
Copland (5-2, 3 KO) has now lost two of three and was never in this fight at all, as he couldn’t come close to cutting off the ring as Camilleri (19-6-1, 8 KO) danced around gleefully and pot-shotted Copland from the outside constantly, scoring a second round knockdown on the way to a win on scores of 78-73, 79-73, and 79-73, which were all frankly a bit generous to Copland.