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Who's who at the Tszyu? Boxer still undefeated as family nears historic milestone

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Nikita Tszyu has captured the Australian super-welterweight title with a devastating TKO victory over Dylan Biggs to have the nation’s most famous boxing family on the precipice of an extraordinary sporting milestone.

 

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After a heated, at-times ugly build-up, the much-anticipated showdown at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre lived up to its billing as the domestic fight of the year when Tszyu climbed from the canvas to win in brutal fashion.

A smirking Biggs dropped Tszyu inside the opening 45 seconds on Wednesday night with two heavy rights, but the challenger recovered to pound his rival literally into submission.

Biggs did well to survive a relentless bashing from “The Butcher” in the fourth round before the referee stopped the fight late in the fifth as Biggs’ team prepared to throw in the towel.

The victory extended Tszyu’s record to 8-0, with six of his wins coming via knockout, and also left egg on the face of commentators who suggested the 25-year-old had been dining out on the most famous family name in Australian boxing.

“He’s not as good as his name,” two-time world champion Shawn Porter said ringside pre-fight before Tszyu improved the family’s incredible unbeaten record in Australia to 48-0.

His legendary father Kostya carved out a 18-0 record on home turf, his now-world champion brother Tim is 22-0 in Australia, while Nikita is 8-0.

“It’s a beautiful feeling. I’ve been envisioning this moment, just how it was going to play out,” a jubilant Tszyu said.

“I just kept thinking, ‘Yes, I will have the title when I get home. I will show my dogs my new belt, my new piece of jewellery. I will do it’.

“And, yeah, means a lot.”

Tszyu, though, admitted to feeling a tad panicky after hitting the canvas and being “rocked” in the opening round.

“Deep waters at the very start. He caught me with a shot that I just didn’t see. He rocked me,” Tszyu said.

“That kind of punch was something to fear and something to watch out for.

“He was just a hurdle. He was just a massive roadblock in my brain this whole time.

“As soon as I started boxing, he was essentially just like standing there like a wall that I had to kind of climb over and I was always looking at it.

“So it feels good being able to jump over that and start the next chapter of my boxing career.”

In the co-main event, Issac Hardman restored his reputation as “The Headsplitter” with his own punishing TKO victory over Troy Coleman to claim the vacant WBO Intercontinental middleweight title.

After winning his first 13 professional fights, Hardman had lost two of his past three to Michael Zerafa and Rohan Murdock before hitting back with a vengeance.

Coleman was saved by the bell after copping a barrage in the fourth round before the referee wisely stopped the fight early in the fifth.

Earlier, Brandon “The Bull” Grach delivered the Australian knockout of the year to upset the previously undefeated Liam Talivaa in an explosive heavyweight bout.

Grach, a one-time teenage amateur prodigy who only returned to the ring in September after a 13-year boxing hiatus, ended Talivaa’s night just four seconds into the second round with a thunderous left hook.

There were concerns for Talivaa as he lay prone, motionless on the canvas after being knocked out cold, but he eventually came to.

Talivaa was caught out prematurely celebrating with a throat-slitting gesture after dropping Grach in the first round.

But in a major statement to heavyweight top dogs Justis Huni and Joe Goodall, Grach responded almost immediately to send Talivaa crashing to the floor with a big right late in the opening round, then again early in the second.

 

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