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Nikita Tszyu vs Mason Smith, analysis, how good can he be, highlights, video, Tim Tszyu, reaction, power, knockout

If Nikita Tszyu’s first professional fight left some questions unanswered, then there can’t have been many more left after finishing Mason Smith inside the first round on Wednesday night.

Tszyu returned to boxing after eight years away in March against Aaron Stahl and stopped him early in the second round, but it didn’t allow fight fans to see exactly what Tszyu was made of, and the 24-year-old also knew it wasn’t ‘t the polished product.

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But just a few months later against Smith (5-1), Tszyu (2-0) knocked the 27-year-old down in the opening round before landing lethal combinations which forced the referee to step in and wave off the fight.

If there is to be one question that does remain after the dismantling of Smith, then it’s this: just how good will Nikita Tszyu become?

For starters, there’s not many boxers in his division who possess the raw power he does, as he barely missed his target and left the Main Event commentary team in awe.

“That is world class punching power that we’ve just seen from another star on the rise,” Ben Damon said.

“Nikita has shown all of the skills, but first and foremost he has shown world class power. We’ve always heard about the power, now we’ve seen it.

“He has sleeping pills in both hands and if Nikita Tszyu hits you, you stay hit.”

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On the panel, Barry Michael remarked that he “expected to see power, but that was explosive.”

One man who knew all about Nikita’s cannons for fists was his big brother, Tim.

He was the most animated man inside the Newcastle Entertainment Centre, riding every single one of his little brother’s punches and barking out instructions.

Even with his injured hands, it didn’t stop Tim from hoisting his brother up for the crowd as Nikita became the third member of the Tszyu family to enjoy his very own Tszyucastle moment

Speaking after the fight, Tim reiterated that he’d tried to tell everyone about the power in Nikita’s fists and had a scary warning for the rest of his weight division.

“I told you. I told everyone,” Tim said.

“Wait ’til he starts knocking everyone out now.

“Give him some time, he’ll be knocking the whole division out in Australia – except for me!”

If there was one thing that perhaps didn’t go to plan for Nikita, it is the fact that the fight ended early, not that that’s a thing whatsoever.

The 24-year-old wanted to put on a boxing clinic over the course of six rounds.

Tim and Nikita Tszyu embrace after the latter’s first round victory. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Instead, he ended proceedings in the first, meaning he is yet to actually fight three whole rounds across his two opening fights.

The sheer dominance and calmness displayed in Tszyu’s second fight is all the remarkable and makes it easy to forget just how early it is in his boxing career.

He’s under no illusions that getting to where he wants to go won’t happen with the simple snap of the fingers.

However, he’s got a coach and a big brother who have shown the path on how to get to the summit of world boxing, even if it might take a bit of time to arrive there for the 24-year-old.

“Being at the stage that I’m at, I’m more like an infant that’s just learning how to walk,” Tszyu told foxsports.com.au.

“It’s a short period of time that I’ve started the sport again. It’s going to still take a while for me to hit that same level that he’s (Tim) at and achieve the same kind of skills he’s at.”

What makes Tszyu different from his older brother is his approach to becoming not just a well-rounded boxer, but a well-rounded martial artist.

He did kung-fu in his time away from boxing, a discipline that is “connected a lot more to breathing and slow movements” rather than general fighting skills which is unusual for boxing.

Although Tszyu admits he’s unsure if kung-fu actually provided him with any tangible benefits he can introduce into boxing, it was “eye-opening” to participate in a different martial art.

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Tszyu also has his eyes on which martial arts he’d like to have a crack at next and it’s one that he can already see how he could implement into his bag of boxing tricks in addition to his concrete hands.

“I thought about something to do with Brazilian jiu-jitsu and wrestling to learn grappling skills,” Tszyu said.

“So when someone comes in close, I can be a like a snake and slip away from them or use my body, legally, to put them in more pain, put their hand in an uncomfortable position.

“It’s just a thought I had. I’ve always found it’s good to have information from other sports and other disciplines.

“That’s how you can have a new approach to things and you bring something different to the table.”

It’s that willingness to delve into the unknown and give himself an advantage over his peers that will set Tszyu apart from whoever he faces.

Whether he delves into BJJ or wrestling remains to be seen, but it would undoubtedly be welcome additions to his fighting arsenal.

However, we must enjoy Tszyu while he lasts because he wants to be a boxer for “no older than 35.”

But until then, it feels silly that some would even dare to think about a potential ceiling for what Tszyu can become.

With the world class power he possesses, there’s sure to be more wins and more knockouts ahead.

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