Tim Tszyu 13-0 (10) claimed the Australian junior middleweight title with a 10-round unanimous decision victory over Joel ‘CamaKO’ Camilleri 17-6-1 (8) at The Star Casino in Sydney on Wednesday night.
Judges Will Soulos and Charlie Lucas awarded the bout to Tszyu by identical scores of 99-91, while judge Justin Kennedy had it slightly closer at 98-92.
The fight was a major step up in class for the 24-year-old Tszyu, who passed with flying colours.
“It’s a significant step in my career to defeat the Australian champion,” Tszyu said. “I got to test myself and learnt more about not just myself but about my soul and my heart.
“I know it’s a long, long, long road ahead to the ultimate goal.”
The awkward and agile Camilleri, 28, proved to be a tough target to hit clean and made Tszyu work for every minute of the fight, but it was Tszyu’s relentless pressure and workrate that won the night.
Camilleri, who won the national crown in his last fight against Billy Limov in February, praised Tszyu after the fight.
“Tim is slick, a very smart fighter,’” Camilleri said.
The newly-crowned national champion admitted Camilleri asked him questions that had never been posed in previous fights.
“I learned more in this fight than I have in my entire career,” Tszyu said.
In the ring after the fight Tszyu called out former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn, who was commentating the fights from ringside.
“Mr Jeffrey Horn, the teacher, you’ve got my manager’s number, you call him when you’re ready,” Tszyu said. “Whenever he wants to go, call my manager.”
Horn said he still thought Tszyu needed more seasoning before he would be ready to fight him.
“It’s pretty funny, I don’t think he’s ready just yet. He’s got another couple of fights to prove it,” Horn said.
Tszyu is expected to return to the ring in August in Sydney with potential opponents including IBF number 12 Dwight Ritchie and Camilleri’s stablemate Michael Zerafa, who impressed in a 12-round losing effort to world-class Kell Brook last December.
Promoter Matthew Rose is considering Sydney’s largest indoor venue Qudos Bank Arena, and the new Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta as potential venues for Tszyu’s next bout.
“Tim is now rated number 15 in the world with the WBA and IBF and after tonight’s performance he’ll climb in the world ratings,” Rose said.
“We’re pretty keen to bring the big fights to Sydney, that’s one thing we really want to do. I believe there’s a fanbase in Sydney for boxing.”