What’s my name? Tim Tszyu ready for Jermell Charlo next
Plus, Tank and Ryan all set and remembering Pat Magee
Straight after his ninth-round stoppage of Tony Harrison, Australia’s latest boxing hope took to the mic to send a powerful message to the boxing world: I’m my own man. It’s not easy being the son of a legend and Tim Tszyu has spent his pro career trying to evade the ghost of his famous fighting father, former unified light-welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu.
It was Showtime analyst and unofficial scorer Steve Farhood who pointed out the fact that a young Tszyu and an even younger Hatton were fighting on the same night, given the fact that Ricky had ended Kostya’s career back in 2005. A nice synchronicity but nothing more. While young Campbell toiled on a DAZN undercard, trying desperately to grasp some kind of relevance, hours later Tszyu was operating at an entirely different level.
Photo credit: BoxingScene
Fully prepared for his biggest night to date, Tszyu was tentative early, stalking ‘Super Bad’ Harrison while throwing very little. Having learned the lessons of the Terrell Gausha fight, where he was floored in the opener, the Aussie stepped off and observed the visitor’s moves for a good six minutes before loosening up. He was right to do so.
Even though the punch stats indicated that not much of Harrison’s offensive output was landing, his jab was sharp enough to blemish and scuff Tszyu’s left eye and cheek.
An intelligent fighter who can make adjustments, Tszyu’s own jab and left hook came into play during the third as Harrison sought comfort on the ropes. Reluctant to throw the right hand for fear of receiving a spiteful uppercut in return, the Michigan man usually banks early rounds and fades down the stretch. The worrying factor here was that he wasn’t winning much at all.
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Increasing his workrate steadily, whenever Tszyu hurt Harrison in the ninth there was no way he was about to let the American off the hook. Tony’s head rocked from side to side as Tszyu nailed him with a variety of punches and Tony lay on the ropes presenting ample scope for online memes. Stopping the American was the statement display the new WBO Interim super-welterweight champion had been looking for.
Tszyu’s entire persona speaks of an extremely confident individual, possessing a steely resolve. There’s no faux arrogance. Tim has a genuine belief in his abilities and believes that he will beat Jermell Charlo when they eventually meet. I don’t think he’ll beat Charlo but he will give him one hell of a fight.
During the post-fight interview Tim took the opportunity to remind the assembled crowd and the watching world of his name and identity. Since turning pro in 2017 Tszyu has never been afraid to distance his growing ledger from the achievements of his famous father.
Kostya was not at this fight and generally does not attend. Absent while caring for a sick relative, the one-time torch bearer for Aussie boxing has taken a step back to give his son’s career the chance to develop on its own. Tszyu’s BoxRec carries his nickname as ‘The Soul Taker’. An apt moniker for such a patient yet dangerous finisher.
Kostya Tszyu (inset) was a fine fighter - Photo credit: Mirror Boxing
From the four rounds we saw of him, Aussie-Samoan light-heavyweight Paulo Aokuso looks pretty useful. Fighting a rugged veteran like Yunieski Gonzalez in only his 4th fight is a strong statement of intent. Showboating towards the end of the 10 rounds, Aokuso let his shots go nicely from the southpaw stance at times and even dropped Gonzalez with a fierce combination that ended on a right uppercut-left hand.
Understandably, 25-year-old ‘Sweet P’ was a little open to the right hand at times but soaked up anything that came back his way. The Olympic rings tattooed on his back show his amateur pedigree. His performance as chief support to Tszyu-Harrison shows his professional potential.
GERVONTA DAVIS AND RYAN GARCIA FACE OFF
After keeping the assembled media bods waiting for a couple of hours, last week’s super fight press conference was a tense affair once Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis eventually turned up. Brooding ahead of the April 22 clash with Ryan Garcia, Davis’ words often hold a sinister edge. When he says he’s primed to knock you out, he means literally knock you out cold.
Seeing this power-punching pair finally face off will only serve to raise interest, even if the amateur dramatics were missing. As the fight date closes in and rehydration demands take their toll, both will no doubt display more of an edge.
The winner will elevate themselves to a new level, staking a claim to become the new face of boxing. If Davis defeats Garcia and Eimantas Stanionis gets past Vergil Ortiz in their clash one week later then Oscar De La Hoya might (literally) wake up in a world where two of his cash cows have been beaten.
Boxing call-in: The Boxing Asylum discussed Tank vs. Ryan
While this occasion lacked fireworks, you can’t beat a good quality press conference. From Caleb Plant slapping Canelo to Riddick Bowe’s full on two-fisted combination on Larry Donald, or even the nervous energy of Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg swapping verbals in Belfast, there have been some memorable moments.
Fighting with legal charges still hanging over him, Davis was surprisingly respectful to Garcia and resisted the urge to drag the noble art’s reputation further into the gutter. The Baltimore man says he’s ready to go through everybody to reign above his contemporaries. Victory on this Showtime Pay-Per-View will be a strong step in the right direction.
R.I.P. Pat Magee
It was with great sadness that I received a text from Harry Hawkins (Bernard Dunne’s former trainer) last Friday morning to say that Pat Magee had passed away peacefully a couple of hours before. Whenever I released a copy of the Irish Boxing Review, Pat would get in touch and place an order. We’d meet in Stranmillis and he would buy a bundle to hand out to his associates. The Belfast man had a head for business and a heart for boxing.
Pat managed a number of fighters in his time, including the likes of Anthony Cacace, Tommy McCarthy and Kiko Martinez, the Spaniard who found himself continuously linked to Ireland given his two fights with Carl Frampton and 2007 annihilation of Bernard Dunne. Pat was also involved with Thailand’s Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym who stunned Dunne in 2009 to take his world title.
Magee had his fair share of boxing beefs but he was a pragmatist and would work with anyone if the numbers made sense. Whenever Bernard Dunne released his autobiography, Pat rang me up to ask if I had read it yet. Sensing that he had got more than a single mention, given his rumblings with the Dubliner and promoter Brian Peters, I said I hadn’t bought it but was interested to hear what he made of it. Playing it cool, Pat just laughed and told me to read it and then call him back with any questions I might have.
Brian Magee with Pat - Photo credit: Press Eye/Belfast Telegraph
For all of those fighters he was involved with, it was the work he did with namesake Brian Magee that defined Pat’s time in boxing. The pair were inseparable. Whenever Mikkel Kessler fought Brian in Denmark, Kalle Sauerland came to Belfast for a press conference in the Europa Hotel and remarked on what a tough negotiator Pat was when it came to his fighters; looking after their interests at the money table, ensuring they would always get the best possible deal.
Pat secured Brian bouts against Kessler, Lucian Bute, Carl Froch, Mads Larsen and Robin Reid as well as a lucrative IBO title run. Numerous paydays and world level opportunities. Even after defeat, the likeable Poleglass southpaw was carefully manoeuvred back into contention via traditional British and European title routes, right up until his retirement in 2012.
Boxing is now a staple of the Feile festival with Mick Conlan a regular headline attraction. In 2015, Pat ran a marquee show as Tommy McCarthy defeated Courtney Fry in the main event. I turned up early and Pat made me “earn my pay” by depositing leaflets on the empty seats before the tent filled out. I was happy to do it because promoting shows is a thankless task and Pat Magee was always an ardent supporter of the sport. He will be sorely missed.
The game is almost up for Tony Yoka as he suffered yet another defeat. 10 months after Martin Bakole travelled across the water to inflict Yoka’s first career loss, the rebuilding process was dealt a further blow as Carlos Takam stunned the 2016 Olympic gold medallist.
The split decision verdict was ridiculous as one of the judges tried to stir up a little hometown cooking. Thankfully the other two saw sense and rightly awarded Takam his big moment. Unfortunately there’s not much that can be about these blatantly corrupt officials, doling out dubious scorecards in their home country. It’s boxing and it happens all the time.
About Steve: Experienced boxing writer, author of 8 books and podcaster of over 400 eps. 15+ years in the sport. Covered hundreds of shows for newspapers and Boxing News magazine. Chief script writer for Motivedia channel. For enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org.