Finally the stage is once again set for Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov to meet in the octagon, this time for the UFC lightweight championship.
Super welterweight boxer Tim Tszyu has added more belts and learnt some lessons after successfully passing his toughest professional test to date.
The 24-year-old Sydneysider was made to work by Victorian Dwight Ritchie on Wednesday evening in his home town, but earned a unanimous ten round points decision.
He won two regional super welterweight titles and should be knocking on the door of of the IBF top five after improving his record to 14-0, with 10 KOs.
Tszyu went into the fight in Sydney rated 12th by the IBF, three places below Ritchie.
He entered the ring to the accompaniment of the Queen classic Another One Bites the Dust, a song released 14 years before he was born
Tszyu did indeed add another victim to his record, but it was no cakewalk, as Ritchie made him work for a win the judges gave to him by margins of four, five and six points.
While Tszyu landed the more powerful blows, Ritchie kept him honest, firing off plenty of punches of his own in a willing contest.
“He kept me on my toes, he took me somewhere I haven’t been,” Tszyu said.
“It’s definitely something I can learn from and train to get better.
‘All my respect to Dwight, he’s one hell of a competitor.”
Ritchie was bothered by a cut near his left eye, which opened up in the third round, but he refused to use that as an excuse.
“I don’t want to take anything away from Tim, he fought a great fight,” Ritchie said.
Tszyu remains interested in a fight with former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn, who was commentating at ringside.
However, Horn has as a middleweight fight against Michael Zerafa in Bendigo looming on August 31 and there’s no guarantee he will drop down a division after that contest to take on Tszyu.
Another fighter still boasting an unbeaten professional record after Wednesday is Carlton AFLW star Tayla Harris.
After a quiet first round, Harris (5-0-1, 1 KO) cut loose in the second and a series of big shots prompted a stoppage by debutante Renee Gartner.