Nikita Tszyu has continued the unbeaten start to his career but a remarkable Ben Horn took him the distance in an all-out war in Sydney.
Tszyu had spent less than eight minutes in the ring in his first two career bouts, winning both via TKO, and was widely expected to demolish Horn in similar fashion on Wednesday night.
But Horn showed supreme toughness to see out the six rounds – copping 93 shots to the body on the way – and even threatened a stunning upset when he rocked Tszyu in the final seconds.
Tszyu won comfortably on the judges’ scorecards (60-54 x2 and 59-55), before declaring: “That was the perfect fight I could have had. These are the ones you learn the most from, the ones you develop the most from.”
After Tim Tszyu (Nikita’s older brother) beat Jeff Horn (Ben’s older brother) in August 2020, this was billed as the ‘Battle of the Brothers’ – only to surpass the original in almost every way. As former world champion Barry Michael said on Main Event: “It was an absolute war… it was six flat-out rounds of war. That was brilliant, absolutely brilliant.”
Tszyu was full of praise for his rival, saying: “He’s tough. He’s as tough as they get. It was a pleasure to share the ring with him.”
He could only smile and laugh when asked if he was surprised by Horn: “Most definitely. I was quite surprised! He can take a shot. All credit to him.”
The Battle Of The Brothers: Watch unbeaten Nikita Tszyu vs Ben Horn on Kayo Sports. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Earlier, Justin Hodges set up an Origin boxing showdown with Paul Gallen after taking care of business against Jordan Simi.
While Simi landed a few big blows of his own, it was mostly about survival against the more experienced Hodges, who won via unanimous decision 40-36 (x3) in less than impressive fashion. READ MORE
Tszyu’s brutal power was immediately on display with a series of body shots throughout the first round before a left broke through Horn’s guard late.
Horn was almost allowing Tszyu to come forward and throw shots at him at will, but showed the family’s trademark toughness – Fox Sports commentator Ben Damon called it “otherworldly” – by absorbing them.
Through two rounds Tszyu had connected with 38 body shots.
But Tszyu was the first of the pair to bleed, with a small cut appearing as Horn delivered some impressive shots of his own in the third round.
It was Tszyu who had to back off from some Horn flurries in the fourth, the unbeaten star finding himself in the first true fight of his professional career.
“This is a career-best performance by Horn, by far,” Jeff Fenech said on commentary. “I can’t believe what I’m seeing.”
Through four rounds Horn had taken 62 shots to the body, and early in the fifth he was appearing to tire – yet as soon as the round ended he looked almost nonplussed.
“He’s like the Terminator! He just strolled back like he’s on a walk in the park,” Damon said.
Against almost all expectations the fight reached its sixth and final round, and after copping a minute of brutal shots, Horn landed multiple uppercuts in a row that left Tszyu in sudden strife.
But Tszyu lifted, delivering more and more brutal shots in the fight’s final minute – until Horn was shockingly rocked in the final seconds in an unbelievable finish.
“This is the performance of his life,” Fenech said of Horn.
“I’m shocked. I totally didn’t expect this. He must’ve trained the house down.”
Horn said he did not get hurt by a single body shot due to his conditioning.
“I always knew it was going to go the distance. Funny enough, I was telling him in the sixth round: ‘Is that all you got to the body? I think they’re soft Nikita, come on. Is that what you drop people with? Put it on!’ I think it made him a little bit angry!
“I should have started that (sledging) in round one, I could have cleaned him up with a few more shots,” he joked.
Horn added: “He’s a top dude, a great fighter, and I can see him going a long way. I’d love to see him win a world title one day along with his brother de el, so good on him.
The gutsy warrior added he was un-hurt by the brutal assault he wore to the body, saying: “In all honestly, I’m well-conditioned to the body. Honestly, I did not get hurt by one of his body shots from him… None of them hurt me to the point of dropping.
AUSSIE DELIVERS EPIC CLINIC
Australian Sam Goodman has continued his sensational rise up the professional ranks by crushing Filipino veteran Juan Miguel Elorde to claim the IBF Inter-Continental and WBO Oriental super bantamweight belts.
It was a clinical performance from the start, the Aussie ninth-ranked star landing 76 punches to Elorde’s 31 in the first four rounds – before things got even more one-sided.
The referee stepped in to stop the fight in the eighth round, with stats showing Goodman had landed a whopping 138 punches to the head. Goodman’s record now moves to 12-0, Order now 29-3.
Goodman was repeatedly landing to the body of his opponent with crisp right hands, and began to dominate from the fifth round onwards with a sublime assault. It was “target practice” for Goodman, Ben Damon said in commentary for Main Event. “This is just complete and utter one-way traffic,” Damon added.
Goodman said: “I thought I fought a very disciplined fight, a very smart fight… my most polished (win) probably.”
Asked for his upcoming plans, he said: “I think I’m due a couple tins with that bunch (of fans). That’s what’s next!”
Fellow Aussie Harry Garside told Main Event: “He honestly looked like he couldn’t miss.”
“I think he can win a world title, for sure,” former world champion Barry Michael said.
SIMS STUNNED IN WILD KNOCKOUT
Having delivered one of the finest fights in Australian women’s boxing history earlier this year, Ashleigh Sims was again involved in a sensational fight on Wednesday night – only to fall victim to a brutal knockout.
Sims – who is married to St George Illawarra Dragons player Tariq Sims – left her rival’s nose bleeding heavily in the second round. But a hurting Sims threw caution to the wind and paid the price.
Sims was stunned by a monster flurry of right hands, turning sideways to face the referee almost in a daze – but that didn’t stop Adams from continuing, with one final right hand sending Sims to the canvas in a devastating loss.
HORRIFIC, BLOODY WAR STUNS
Hunter Ioane and Darragh Foley put on an ugly and vicious war that nearly exploded after the referee waved it off in the fifth round.
“Blood absolutely everywhere,” Ben Damon declared in commentary.
Both fighters exchanged brutal shots – and forced the referee to work very very hard to keep things fair – before Ioane suffered a massive cut on the top of his head.
“The rules are out the window here,” Ben Damon said in commentary for Main Event.
The fighters clashed heads midway through the fight, but Ioane was allowed to continue despite multiple appraisals by the doctor.
But finally, midway through the fifth round, the doctor was forced to wave off the bout to protect a bloody Ioane, and since the cut came form an accidental head clash that meant it went to the judges.
Ioane was furious and tried to keep fighting Foley and his camp after the bout ended, before storming out of the ring in nasty scenes.
It was ruled 40-35 x2, 39-36 to Foley.
“He’s got to reassess his whole career,” Barry Michael said in commentary of Ioane’s antics and his fifth-straight defeat.
22-YEAR-OLD PRODUCES ‘SPECIAL’ WIN
22-year-old Joel Taylor smashed his 31-year-old super welterweight rival Michael Hall, crushing the veteran and sending him crashing to the canvas in the first round with a staggering three-punch combination.
Hall tried to stand up, but his corner retired him – rightly – with the end coming at just 1.52 into the opening round.
It was Taylor’s 8th win from as many fights, handing Hall just his second defeat (now 8-1-2).
Boxing great Jeff Fenech declared it was “something pretty special”.
Nikita Tszyu told Fox Sports he found the performance “very impressive”.
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2M SOUTHPAW BEAST CLAIMS BIG WIN
201-cm heavyweight weapon Jackson Murray has made it four stoppage wins from four fights with a thunderous stoppage of Parminder Singh.
Murray, a 27-year-old southpaw, felt Singh crashing to his knees in the second round, with Singh telling the referee he was unable to continue.
It came after Murray entered the ring with a smile on his face and a fedora on his head, as Lou Bega’s iconic tune Mambo No.5 echoed throughout the Hordern Pavilion
Luckily, his work in the ring was equally as entertaining.
TSZYU VS HORN FULL FIGHT CARD
Nikita Tszyu def. Ben Horn via UD (60-54 x2, 59-55; super welterweight)
Sam Goodman def. Juan Elorde via R8 TKO (WBO Oriental & IBF Inter-Continental super bantamweight titles)
Justin Hodges defends Jordan Simi via UD (40-36 x3; heavyweight)
Darragh Foley def. Hunter Ioane via UD (40-35 x2, 39-36; welterweight)
Jessica Adams def. Ashleigh Sims via R2 KO (super featherweight)
Shanell Dargan defends Jaala Tomat via SD (38-38, 39-37, 39-38; super featherweight)
Joel Taylor def. Michael Hall via R1 TKO (super welterweight)
UNDERCARD FROM 6PM AEST
Jackson Murray defends Parminder Singh via R2 TKO (heavyweight)
Kate McLaren def. Connie Chan via UD (39-37 x2, 38-37; welterweight)
Angel Rushton def. Ayisha Abied by UD (39-37 x 3; super featherweight)