Unbeaten Tim Tszyu rose from an early knockdown before finding his footing and securing an impressive unanimous decision victory in his U.S. debut over U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha Saturday night live on SHOWTIME from The Armory in Minneapolis headlining a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The son of Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, Tim Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs) faced adversity early as Gausha (22-3-1, 11 KOs) landed a perfect straight right hand that sent Tszyu toppling to the mat in the opening round. Tszyu bounced back onto his feet but was sporting a cut under his left eye for the remainder of the frame. The flash knockdown didn’t deter Tszyu, who used his physicality, aggressive and come-forward style to punish Gausha to the head and body on his way to a victory by scores of 116-111, 115-112 and 114-113.
“It was all so quick,” said Tszyu of the knockdown. “It was good that I faced adversity for the first time and I was able to come back. All respect to my opponent, Terrell Gausha. He’s a hell of a warrior and he’s a true gentleman. It was a simple flash knockdown. It was perfect timing. He’s a former Olympian. He’s got great credentials. That’s a great lesson for myself. I got back up and I dug deep.”
“I felt that I had him in trouble after the knockdown,” said Gausha. “I tried to jump on him but he’s a tough fighter. I take my hat off to him. He came prepared. I was ready for 12 hard rounds too. I think I got a little too excited and I tried to jump on him. But he was in shape so he recovered pretty good. He just pressed the action. That’s what he does. I knew he was going to come like that, and we trained hard for that.”
Gausha had success with that same straight right hand throughout the fight, but Tszyu’s constant pressure slowly began to wear Gausha down, first hurting him with body shots in round four. Tszyu followed that up in round five by hurting Gausha with an overhand right that forced Gausha to look to hold throughout the rest of the round.
“I hope we gave the fans a great show,” said Gausha. “I trained hard. I poured my heart out. I’m happy with it. I hate losing but I went out like a champion.”
A native of Rockdale, Australia, Tszyu was able to stay in control with a relentless body attack, landing 93 body shots compared to 29 from Gausha, according to CompuBox. Tszyu stayed close to Gausha throughout the action, eating the occasional counter right hand in order to land his 207 power punches, which outpaced Gausha’s 106. In addition to his edge in punch output, Tszyu was more accurate, landing 32% of his shots compared to 28% for Gausha.
“I was just enjoying myself,” said Tszyu. “I felt in control the whole time. I kept the pressure on. I wasn’t going to back down. He kept landing shots but I said, ‘I’m going to keep coming forward and keep fighting.’ I kept my composure but I just kept saying to myself that this is a new round. I have to dig deep and I have to catch up here. I felt like I did that. I put the pressure on. I didn’t take one step backwards. I kept going on.”
Gausha remained game until the last bell, landing enough shots to keep Tszyu from overwhelming him, but was not able to turn the tide on the judges’ cards. After a victorious debut on the U.S. stage, Tszyu set his eyes on the winner of the upcoming undisputed super welterweight championship rematch between Jermell Charlo and Brian Castaño taking place May 14 on SHOWTIME.
“I’ll definitely be there for Charlo vs. Castaño,” said Tszyu. “I’ll definitely be watching. I’m coming for the two boys. Whoever wants it, come get it.”
Photo: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME