Australian boxing superstar Tim Tszyu has earned a world title shot after going 20-0-0 with a unanimous points decision victory over valiant Japanese fighter Takeshi Inoue at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney.
Tszyu was hoping to finish the fight early but came up against a tough Inoue, who refused to give up despite being dominated at times during the bout that lasted the distance.
The reward for Tszyu after defeating Inoue will be a likely world title fight against WBO champion Brian Castano, in a bout that will occur sometime next year.
Below is the round-by-round updates:
Tszyu is straight in the zone and there is a lack of aggression from Inoue early. It’s been a cagey start from both fighters. Tszyu lands a couple of big body shots early and the crowd cheers loudly. The Australian has shown his power early. Inoue has had a conservative start. Tszyu landed a couple of late punches in the round. Good start by the Australian.
Inoue spending a lot of time with his gloves in front of his face. All the early momentum with Tszyu. The Australian is looking for an uppercut. The body of Inoue is rather exposed at the moment. Tszyu has landed another couple of shots. It’s been another solid round from the Aussie.
Inoue was expected to come out firing but has been surprisingly conservative. Tszyu lands a big right hand straight through Inoue. The Japanese fighter does hit back with a few of his own however. Tszyu is really pressing his advantage currently. The Aussie lands an uppercut and the crowd is starting to warm up.
There is a bit of swelling around the left eye of Inoue. The Japanese fighter has come out of his shell a little bit. Certainly been his best round so far. But then Tszyu lands two big blows to take back the advantage. Tszyu hits a couple of big body shots. The Australian is still on top. Inoue has thrown some wild punches but is yet to connect with a big blow.
Tszyu has landed more head punches but surprisingly Inoue has hit more body shots. Inoue is hanging in there. His defence has been pretty solid so far. Tszyu lands a big shot downstairs but Inoue gets a combo off on the body of his opponent. Inoue is on the run but Tszyu attacks and lands several blows. This sets off a flurry of punches from the Australian. Great finish by the Aussie.
This is the round that Tszyu said the fight would be finished. Inoue isn’t really taking many risks. He is still going okay though but Tszyu looks poised to pounce. Tszyu manages to connect with a couple of good body shots. Tszyu is starting to get his uppercut on target. And then gets a right hand in. Inoue looks like he could be struggling.
Is this the round that Tszyu pounces? Tszyu is going for it. Inoue looks like he is on the ropes as Tszyu targets his body. Inoue connects with a shot over the top but Tszyu strikes back with two body hits. Tszyu finishes the round strongly once again.
This is the first time the 19-0 Tszyu has been in round 8 since 2019. Inoue opens up and lands a combination blow. He needs something special to win this fight. But Tszyu lands a big right hand to keep Inoue on the back foot. Inoue has been tough but he is still copping more than his is receiving. Fenech hasn’t given a round to Inoue yet.
A rather uneventful round to start. Both fighters starting to tire. Tszyu is still on top but Inoue is hanging in there. The Japanese fighter has landed a few blows but when he does, Tszyu manages to hit back. Tszyu is starting to lose his footing on a couple of occasions on the slippery surface. Round is stopped to fix Tszyu’s loose tape on his right arm with 17 seconds to go. Inoue finishes the round well.
It was clear Tszyu eased off in the previous round. Looks like it might be tough to knock Inoue out. The Japanese fighter is hanging in there still. Tszyu presses his advantage as the round goes. Inoue does get a couple of his own off. Tszyu has a bit of blood on his lip. The last couple of rounds have been a lot more even.
This fight looks like it will go the distance. The crowd are chanting for Tszyu to knock out Inoue. But the Japanese fighter looks resilient and is holding his own at the moment. Inoue lands a few body shots but Tszyu hits back with a uppercut. And we go into the final round.
The intensity has dropped over the last few rounds. Inoue will likely require a knockout to win this fight. Both fighters have opened up. The crowd is lifting. Blood is coming from the mouth of Inoue. And Tszyu finally gets a knockdown on Inoue. The Australian is sensing the moment. And we go the distance. Tszyu has likely done enough to win.
Tim Tszyu earns a shot at the world title and goes 20-0 with a unanimous points win against Takeshi Inoue. The judges scores were 120-107, 119-108, 120-107.