Relentless pressure, the ability to quickly adapt and those famous body shots that are enough to crumple just about any human to have ever walked the earth.
That’s the famous Tim Tszyu style that has helped him to a 19-fight win streak, including 15 victories via KO/TKO.
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Japanese contender Takeshi Inoue will find out what it’s like when squaring off against Tszyu when the two come to blows at the Qudos Bank Arena on Wednesday November 17, but what is it truly like to come up against ‘The Soul Taker’ in the ring?
According to four fighters who have gone toe-to-toe with Tszyu, it’s an arduous task.
When Michael Zerafa pulled out of his fight against Tszyu with just a week to go before they were set to face off, Stevie Spark stepped up to the plate by moving up two weight classes to save the day and only six days to prepare himself for the opportunity of a lifetime.
But for all the Cinderella story scripts that were quickly drafted in the event of an almighty upset, they were quickly torn up once Spark found out first-hand just how brutal the wave of Tszyu’s crippling body shots can be.
“It wasn’t necessarily Tim’s power that actually got me in the end, but more so the accuracy and the accumulation,” Spark told foxsports.com.au.
“Just constant, constant, constant. In your face.
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“He’s always in your face, but he’s just out of range.
“It feels like he can hit you at anytime, but when you go to throw, it feels like he’s going to make you miss at anytime.
“That was the feeling I had in there with him.
“He’s got that very smart, intelligent pressure and he uses his footwork very well.”
For Dennis Hogan, who fought Tszyu in March this year and was defeated by TKO in the fifth round of their fight, it was a similar tale.
Speaking to Ben Damon on the Main Event Boxing Podcast, Hogan felt the shots didn’t leave him sore, but rather took away one of the most critical aspects in combat sports: energy.
“It was just very, very sapping,” Hogan said. “I’ve never been tired after the third or fourth round before, so take from that what you will.”
While Spark and Hogan count themselves as one of 15 fighters to have been finished by Tszyu, a group of four fighters can lay claim to the fact they were unable to be stopped by the 27-year-old.
Wade Ryan and Joel Camilleri share the honour of taking ‘The Soul Taker’ to the full 10 rounds, but both lost via unanimous decision.
Even though Tszyu couldn’t defeat them before the final bell, both Ryan and Camilleri learned first-hand one of the other key characteristics of Tszyu’s boxing game: his ability to rapidly adapt to whatever is thrown his way.
“Tim’s kind of style is to adapt to what’s in front of him, and he adapted to be the better man on the night,” Camilleri told the Main Event Boxing Podcast.
“That’s one of his positives. He’s so good at reading the fight in the first couple of rounds.
“You notice every third or fourth round, he picks it up and works you out.
“He just works out what he needs to do to win the fight.”
Ryan had the pleasure, if you can call it that, of taking on Tszyu in what was the latter’s seventh fight back in 2017.
It was arguably Tszyu’s biggest test at that moment in his career, and what Ryan found that night was that Tszyu would “show he’s the real deal”.
“The way he recovered and the way he ground the fight out over 10 rounds, I don’t think he’d ever fought 10 rounds at that point in time,” Ryan told the Main Event Boxing Podcast.
“To fight and come back the way he did and stay competitive through the whole fight just goes to show he’s the real deal in my eyes.”
The Tokyo-born Inoue is certainly going to have his work cut out for him on Wednesday, but is no stranger to having the odds stacked against him and putting on the fight of his life, as was the case in his title bout against Mexican star Jaime Munguia in 2019.
However, Tszyu represents a completely different challenge.
Because, as Stevie Spark found out with Tszyu’s body shots, “when you hit someone in the right spot enough times, it’s going to take its toll eventually”.