Top Rank boss Bob Arum has heaped praise on junior middleweight contender Tim Tszyu 16-0 (13) following his emphatic eighth-round knockout of Jeff Horn 20-3-1 (13) at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville, Australia last Wednesday night.
Sydneysider Tszyu, 25, dominated the fight from the get-go, mixing up his shots to the body and head and dropping Horn in the third and sixth rounds before the former WBO welterweight champion retired on his stool at the end of the eighth.
The performance impressed Hall of Fame promoter Arum.
“He looks terrific, he looks like he’s the real goods,” Arum told The Age. “It’s like racehorses. Sometimes you can tell the colt is going to be good because the sire was good. It was on ESPN+, the streaming service of ESPN, which now has 11 million subscribers. He looked really good.
“I talked to Matt [Rose], his manager and promoter, and he said he wanted him to fight again before the end of the year in Australia and then he would bring him over to the United States.”
Arum said it was hard to ignore the similarities between Tszyu and his father, former undisputed junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu.
“There’s no mistaking the resemblance,” he said. “Kostya Tszyu was a tremendous fighter. You can’t make comparisons. Kostya was fighting at a much lower weight. I hate to make comparisons between fighters in different eras, no less the father and the son.”
Tszyu, who is ranked IBF number six, WBO number nine and WBC number 12 in the deep 154-pound division, appears on the fast track to a world title shot, but Arum said he would like to see him have another year to mature.
“[A world title is possible], but let’s not jump,” he said. “He’s still a baby and needs a little bit more schooling. But I would think he’s about a year away. Probably by the end of next year he will be in a position to compete for a world title with a real good chance to win.”
Arum wasn’t the only one who liked what he saw, with two journalists from Ring Magazine adding their weight behind the Tszyu Express.
“Tim Tszyu obviously has nice technique and power, but he also has his old man’s distance control,” associate editor Tom Gray said.
“Horn was made to feel very uncomfortable from start to finish there. Kostya was ‘amazing’ in this area, even though the footwork was subtle.
“Horn, for all his flaws, is hard to look good against. [Terence] Crawford had his way with him, but he made [Manny] Pacquiao look God awful, regardless of your thoughts on that decision. We’ve not seen the best of Tim Tszyu, not by a long shot.”
Reporter Ryan Songalia said: “Tim Tszyu has a good right hand, but it’s not the nuclear weapon his dad had. I like that his dad isn’t in the corner, allows Tim to be his own man. The brilliant left hooks to the body reminded me that his dad was also an underrated body puncher.
“Tim Tszyu is not his father. But I love how he controls the range with his left hand like his father. And he also makes good use of the check hook like his dad did.”
Over at ESPN, Steve Kim said: “Tszyu sliced up Horn with precision and force. He operates with great efficiency inside the ring.”
Boxing journalist Mark Ortega added: “Tim Tszyu has arrived on the world level at 154 pounds with an utter dismantling of former welterweight belt holder Jeff Horn. He’s still outside the top 10 but definitely an intriguing name.”
The last word goes to former Showtime boxing analyst and former world champion Paulie Malignaggi, who boldly proclaimed on Twitter: “Tim Tszyu will go down as the best Australian born boxer ever.”