Tim Tszyu calls out Jeff Horn after victory
By Anthony Cocks
Tim Tszyu 13-0 (10) took a major step forward in his short professional career by claiming the Australian junior middleweight title from reigning champion Joel ‘CamaKO’ Camilleri 17-6-1 (8) by unanimous decision at The Star Casino in Sydney on Wednesday night.
The 24-year-old Tszyu, son of International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Kostya Tszyu, was awarded the win by scores of 98-92 and 99-91 twice against the tough and awkward Camilleri.
“It’s a significant step in my career to defeat the Australian champion,” Tszyu said after the fight. “I got to test myself and learnt more about not just myself but about my soul and my heart.
“I know it’s a long, long, long road ahead to the ultimate goal.”
The early rounds were competitive with Melbourne’s Camilleri frustrating Tszyu with his movement and opening a cut on the challenger’s left eye, but by the middle rounds the Sydneysider began to find a home for his heavier blows.
Tszyu became more dominant as the rounds progressed, getting the better of the action in the late rounds of the fight.
The newly-crowned national champion admitted Camilleri asked him questions that had never been posed in previous fights.
“I learned more in this fight than I have in my entire career,” Tszyu said.
The 28-year-old Camilleri, who won the national crown by TKO5 in his last fight against Billy Limov in February, praised Tszyu after the fight.
“Tim is slick, a very smart fighter,’” Camilleri said.
In the ring after the fight the ambitious Tszyu called out former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn, who was commentating the bouts from ringside.
“Mr Jeffrey Horn, the teacher, you’ve got my manager’s number, you call him when you’re ready,” Tszyu said. “Whenever he wants to go, call my manager.”
Horn was open to the fight but said he still thought Tszyu needed more development before presenting a serious threat.
“It’s pretty funny, I don’t think he’s ready just yet. He’s got another couple of fights to prove it,” Horn said.
Promoter Matt Rose is targeting an August return in Sydney for Tszyu, with potential opponents including IBF number 12 Dwight Ritchie and Camilleri’s stablemate Michael Zerafa, who impressed in a 12-round losing effort to world-class Kell Brook last December.
Rose is considering Sydney’s largest indoor venue, Qudos Bank Arena, and the new Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta as potential venues for Tszyu’s next bout.
“Tim is now rated number 15 in the world with the WBA and IBF and after tonight’s performance he’ll climb in the world ratings,” Rose said.
“We’re pretty keen to bring the big fights to Sydney, that’s one thing we really want to do. I believe there’s a fanbase in Sydney for boxing.”
In the standout fight on the undercard, welterweight ‘Gelignite’ Jack Brubaker 15-2-2 (7) was held to a 10-round split draw against Ty ‘Trigger’ Telford 5-0-1 (2) in a battle for the vacant WBA Oceania title.
The crowd-pleasing fight saw the pair trade bombs for the full 30-minutes of action.
Brubaker was originally scheduled to face Cameron Hammond, who withdrew from the fight to be replaced by Adam Kaoullas. When Kaoullas pulled out, Telford stepped in as a late replacement.
WBO number eight and IBF number 13 cruiserweight Jai Opetaia 17-0 (14) stopped rugged Kiwi campaigner Navosa Ioata 6-4 (5) in the eighth round of their scheduled 10-round contest. It was just the second time the talented 23-year-old southpaw has been extended past the sixth round.
Earlier in the night Cherneka ‘Sugar Neekz’ Johnson 11-0 (5) pitched a six-round shutout against India’s Kirti 6-2 (2) in a bout contested at super bantamweight. All three judges scored the bout 60-54.
At welterweight Kyron ‘The Hitman’ Dryden 13-2 (10) needed just 71 seconds to stop Jim Nalawa 3-2 (3).