Tim Tszyu has continued his relentless pursuit of world title glory with a savage beat-down of Stevie Spark to retain his WBO global super welterweight title with a third-round stoppage in Newcastle.
Tszyu also claimed the vacant Commonwealth belt after living up to his pre-fight promise to quash Spark’s “Cinderella, Rocky Balboa” dreams of ending the favourite’s undefeated record to become the new face of Australian boxing.
A late replacement for no-show Michael Zerafa, Spark won plenty of plaudits for even stepping in to the ring on Wednesday night.
But he was no match for a budding superstar of Australian sport.
Tszyu dominated from the get-go, hurting his bold challenger with a series of heavy blows from above and below in the first round.
Courageous and perhaps foolish in equal measures, Spark did incredibly well to survive beyond the second round as Tszyu unleashed a barrage of destructive left-handers to have the late fill-in literally on his knees.
The referee eventually stopped the fight, maybe even later than he could and should have, halfway through the third round following two telling body shots from Tszyu.
The victory improved Tszyu’s record to 15 knockouts from 19 fights as the 26-year-old WBO world No.1-ranked contender marched another step towards emulating his famous father Kostya and becoming a world champion.
The win puts Tszyu in a great position within his division with a super welterweight unification bout on July 18 between WBO champion Brian Castano and WBA, WBC and IBF titleholder Jermell Charlo edging closer.
Tsyzu said he was looking overseas in future.
“For myself, I’ve got one objective in my mind and that’s take whoever is in front of me out,” Tszyu said. “All respect to Stevie Spark for coming in, he’s got a big career in front of him but again, this my ring, this is my division.”
“There’s Liam Smith, [Magomed] Kurbanov, and Danny Garcia — they’re the three boys I’m going for.”
“If you’re watching boys, I’m coming for you.”
“Like many have said before, the hype is real,” Spark said of Tszyu. “Tim’s a quality opponent, and [I] can’t thank him enough for the opportunity.”
In the co-main event, Queenslander Liam Wilson suffered a reality check in his own pursuit of a world title with a savage fifth-round loss to the Philippines’ self-styled “Jaw Breaker” Joe Noynay.
Previously undefeated in nine fights, Wilson was sent crashing to the canvas three times before Noynay’s devastating left hand finally finished the 24-year-old to retain his WBA Asia Pacific super featherweight title.
Adding further lustre to his triumph, Noynay, the world No.7 and ranked by all three governing bodies, won after enduring 14 days in quarantine after being the first international boxer outside of New Zealand to fight in Australia.