Tim Tszyu got up off the floor to win on his American debut against Terrell Gausha.
The unbeaten Australian (21-0, 15 KOs) beat the 2012 Olympian on points with all three cards in his favour, 114-113, 116-111 and 115-112.
It was, however, a nightmare beginning at The Armory, Minneapolis for the son of the legendary Kostya. Gausha started round one confidently and immediately his jab was proving to be a problem for the betting favourite. And with one-minute remaining Gausha got through with a short right hand which dropped Tszyu for the second time in his career.
Gausha’s right hand and work off the ropes was an issue for Tszyu who looked to impose himself on the American.
At times Tszyu was caught clean too often for his liking and made the kind of mistakes that his peers in the top ten at 154lbs would likely lick their lips at. In the Australian’s favour though is power, strength and a terminator-style pressure game that looked like Gausha would be overcome by.
In the 4 th round Tszyu appeared to punch Gausha’s left hand with an uppercut that put him on the canvas but was deemed no knockdown.
Tszyu was a one-man hunting party always looking to crunch the body with his trademark shots downstairs which have seen many opponents crumble.
The fight took up a pattern that was repeated in each round. Gausha would be cut off and then forced to do what he could off the ropes to survive. And at times it was eye-catching stuff with Tszyu willing to take a couple of punches to force his own work into action. Tszyu’s booming right hand
was chopping away at whatever flesh it could find. Gausha occasionally looked like a man who was about to fold but often found more reserves to give as good as he got.
In the 8th Tszyu began to club away at Gausha. It was punishing but the Cleveland boxer survived the bombardment by duking it out with the New South Wales fighter. It was entertaining toe-to-toe action which included an uppercut from hell thanks to Tszyu.
Gausha eventually became too comfortable on the ropes and hoped to trap Tszyu to deliver a carbon copy of the knockdown in round 1 to boost his chances of winning. He was in an uphill battle with Tszyu coming down like a boulder determined to flatten him.
A dominant 11th from Tszyu was followed by a final stanza where he was clipped too easily by the former world title challenger. It was the type of entertainment that American fans and the Showtime network would love to see again.
The American dream has begun for Tim Tszyu then. The WBO number one contender will now attend the undisputed super-welterweight title rematch between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castano on May 14 in Los Angeles.
The Australian is next in line for a shot at the winner and despite the flaws shown against Gausha a fight against either Charlo or Castano would likely prove to be a thriller.