Tim Tszyu (21-0-0) has made a statement in his U.S. debut, defeating Terrell Gausha (22-3-1) by unanimous decision (116-111, 115-111, 114-113) on Sunday afternoon.
It was far from comfortable though for the Australian, who was knocked down in the opening round as the aggressive Gausha sent an early warning sign to Tszyu.
Tszyu though steadied himself and dominated for the majority of the rounds as the fight went the distance, unlucky not to have a knockdown ruled in the fourth round.
Watch Tim Tszyu vs Terrell Gausha LIVE on Main Event available on Kayo & Foxtel, Sunday 27th March from 11am AEDT. ORDER NOW >
Follow the action from Tszyu v Gausha in our LIVE BLOG below!
In the end that moment of controversy mattered little, with Tszyu crowned the winner and Gausha losing no admirers after continuing to come back and push the relentless Australian all the way.
Tszyu is expected to pocket a cool $1 million for his troubles against Gausha in what is yet another indicator of how big his brand and name is growing.
“It was good I faced adversity for the first time and came back,” Tszyu said post-fight.
“He’s one hell of a warrior and a true gentleman. That is a great lesson for myself. I got back up and I dug deep. He kept coming forward and I was like ‘F*** it’, I’m going to keep fighting.”
REACTION: Boxing world divided as Tszyu ‘question marks’ exposed in US ‘mauling’
Gausha was widely regarded as Tszyu’s toughest challenge yet – and likely the last stepping stone in his quest for a world title shot.
Tszyu had warned in the lead-up to Sunday’s fight that he was not just in America to “take part”.
“I’m here to really take over and I believe it,” Tszyu said.
“It’s in my heart, in my destiny.”
Now it is a waiting game for Tszyu, who is set to face the winner of the Brian Castano-Jermell Charlo blockbuster unification bout in May.
Going back to the fight itself, Gausha landed a knockdown in the opening round, stunning Tszyu with a straight right hand.
“Tszyu is in trouble… he is in a war right now,” Ben Damon said in commentary for Main Event.
“The accuracy of that shot was absolutely perfect.
“The big question is how long can this guy do this for, because Tim is not going to stop,” Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech added.
Tszyu did well to recover and land a few overhand rights in the second round while Gausha responded with solid countering.
An accidental clash of heads then opened up on a cut on Tszyu’s hairline.
Tszyu continued to improve as the fight went on and landed some huge shots in the fourth round, including one that seemed to have scored the Australian a knockdown.
The referee ruled it a slip though in a moment of controversy.
“Very fortunate to have not have a knockdown scored against him,” Damon said.
“It will be over by the sixth round,” Fenech added.
Tszyu continued to find success with his body shots before an overhand right had Gausha on the brink of defeat.
“How did he stay up?” Damon asked.
“Tim Tszyu is going to start this next round like the last one. Can Gausha stay up with it? I don’t think he can,” Fenech added.
“He is hanging on by dear life.”
Gausha was then warned in the sixth round for holding onto Tszyu’s gloves, although Fenech cheekily added: “I’d be holding too”.
Such was the dominant hold Tszyu had on the fight at that point, relentless with his pressure and tiring out Gausha after the American landed the early blow.
Gausha, to his credit, landed a short right in the seventh round but the difference this time around was that Tszyu was able to take the blow without much trouble.
Tsyzu kept coming in the eighth round and Gausha continued to get aggressive, giving it right back to set up a thrilling finish.
The Australian had spoken during the week about wanting to go into “war” and that is exactly what he got, in what Fenech called the “fight of the year”.
“What a fight, this could be fight of the year,” Fenech said.
“The massacre in Minneapolis,” Damon replied.
“The statement he [Tszyu] made is that he is made of something else, the toughness he showed and to dominate passages of this fight, it will have people talking.”
Re-live the action in our live blog below. If you can’t see the blog, CLICK HERE.