The unbeaten Australian star shines in his native country, scoring an impressive stoppage to set the stage for an anticipated showdown versus 154-pound kingpin Jermell Charlo.
Facing the toughest challenge of his career, Tim Tszyu turned in his finest performance.
On Saturday night, before 11,740 at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, Tszyu (22-0, 16 KOs), the unbeaten Australian star, made an emphatic statement by stopping former world champion Tony Harrison for the vacant Interim WBO Super Welterweight World title atop a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME.
“I was smart, I knew (Harrison) had a jab and I had to be smart about it,” said Tszyu, covered in yellow confetti. “The competitor that I had in front of me is the man who beat the man (undisputed super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo), which means I just beat the man, who beat the man. What does that make me?
“The respect is always there. We always have respect for one another. In this ring is where we prove it to each other. Tonight, I proved it to him that I was the better man.”
And primed for a shot against Charlo.
In the opening round, Harrison (29-4-1, 21 KOs) did well establishing the jab and staying in the center of the ring. Harrison also lured Tszyu into missing and consistently popped Tszyu’s head back.
In the second, Tszyu, 28, began inching closer and quickly growing more comfortable. In the last minute of the round, Harrison even reached out and tied Tszyu up, something he rarely does. The times Harrison extended, Tszyu nailed “Superbad” with counter rights.
Harrison did not help himself much either, oft-times stepping straight back and giving Tszyu a perfect line of sight for his punches. Harrison did land a booming shot during the third but Tszyu barely took a step back. Just when it seemed Harrison was in control, Tszyu plowed him with an overhand counter right on the side of the head that sent Harrison reeling backwards into the ropes.
When Harrison returned to his corner, his trainer and brother, LJ Harrison, let him know he could not stay on the ropes too long. He emphatically stressed to Tony that he was being too defensive, giving Tszyu added confidence in coming forward.
In the opening minute of the fourth, Harrison went back to the jab. In the fifth, Tszyu began crowding Harrison, muscling him against the ropes. With 1:44 left in the round, Harrison ate a straight right to the approving oohs and aahs from the partisan Australian crowd.
“ I just beat the man, who beat the man. What does that make me? ” Undefeated WBO Interim 154-pound World Champion - Tim Tszyu
Harrison, 32, was still using his jab, though he did not have much behind it. He had his moments in the middle rounds but the more impactful shots came from his opponent.
Tszyu did a great job of mixing up his punches in the sixth, working the left hook to the liver followed by the right upstairs. Harrison had more moments in the seventh but continued to languish along the ropes. Tszyu confidently stalked him, seemingly unconcerned about anything Harrison was throwing.
Midway through the round, a Harrison right was answered with a right to the head, followed by a right to the body and an overhand right to the head. At this juncture of the fight, Harrison could not do anything to stave off Tszyu’s onslaught.
Harrison’s right eye was swelling shut. He tried standing his ground and fighting back. It played right into Tszyu’s scheme.
Fading and having lost the crisp snap on his punches, Harrison could not keep Tszyu off any longer.
The end of the fight began when Tszyu wobbled Harrison with a perfect right cross in the ninth. Harrison froze as he lost control of his legs. A few seconds later, Tszyu crunched another right off his jaw, followed by a flurry of uppercuts that drove him to the canvas.
Harrison rose on unsteady legs, prompting referee Danrex Tapdasan to stop it at 2:43 of the ninth. All three judges had Tszyu up 77-75 at the time of the stoppage.
“The better man won tonight,” Harrison admitted. “I’m not going to give my assessment on (Tszyu). The better man won tonight. That’s all I can say. He’s on to bigger, better things.”
Tszyu left it off with a challenge to Charlo.
“The message was sent clearly, you know what’s up, you know what’s next, I’m coming,” Tszyu said. “I’m coming to America. Australia you know, the world you know now, what’s my name. Say my name—Tim Tszyu.”
For a closer look at Tszyu vs. Harrison, check out our fight night page.