By: Sean Crose
Although Tim Tszyu had hoped to be facing Jermell Charlo for the undisputed junior middleweight championship of the world, an injured Charlo had to step out, making way for former world titlist Tony Harrison to face the undefeated Tszyu instead. Sure enough, both men deserved credit for agreeing to square off Saturday night (American time) in Australia. For, although the interim WBO junior middleweight strap was at stake, a loss could be a serious step backward for each man’s respective career.
The jab of the 29-3-1 Harrison told the story of the first. The 21-0 Tszyu may have had his moments, but he simply wasn’t active throughout the round. Tszyu had a better second round, though Harrison’s jab may once again have given him the chapter on the judge’s cards. Tszyu rocked Harrison in the third. Harrison recovered nicely, but it was clear that Tszyu would be able to land – which he did repeatedly at the end of the round.
Harrison had a good fourth – thanks, once again, to the jab. Still, Tszyu was still able to land when he wanted. He was clearly the stronger of the two men, plus Harrison was moving a lot while Tszyu was conserving energy with his slow, steady, aggressive pace. Local star Tszyu began to tune up Harrison up in the fifth. The American would have to make adjustments if he was going to win the fight. Harrison had a strong sixth…but he was looking beat up in the corner in between rounds.
A sharp and more active Harrison appeared to take the seventh. The eighth pretty much presented the fight in microcosm – Harrison was faster and landed more. Tszyu, however, was throwing the harder shots, and it was clear the shots were impacting Harrison. Tszyu laid a horrible beating on Harrison in the ninth, pounding Harrison with rights over and over again until Harrison went down. The Detroit fighter bravely got to his feet, but the referee, upon observation, smartly stopped the fight.
“What’s my mother fucking name??” Tszyu yelled in the post fight interview. He is now in line to face Charlo for the undisputed junior middleweight title. “The message was sent clearly. You know what’s up,” he said. “You know what’s next. I’m coming. I’m coming to America.” No doubt Charlo will be ready to greet him.
“The better man won tonight,” Harrison said good naturedly. “Tim, congratulations, my boy.”
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