The unbeaten rising star overcomes a first-round knockdown and spirited effort from Gausha to win a unanimous decision in a PBC on SHOWTIME Saturday night headliner from Minneapolis.
Tim Tszyu couldn’t escape boxing. He was the little kid holding up his father’s world championship belts, the one his dad, the legendary Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, would pick up in his arms after another victory.
No one is picking up Tim Tszyu anymore. He picks himself up. That’s what he had to do Saturday night.
Tszyu’s United States debut didn’t start well. Yet he rose from a first-round knockdown to win a 12-round unanimous decision over former U.S. Olympian Terrell Gausha in a super welterweight fight in a PBC on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing event from The Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Tszyu (21-0, 15 KOs) won on the scorecards of judges Robert Hecko (114-113), Bill Lerch (116-111) and Patrick Morley (115-112).
“It was all so quick,” Tszyu said. “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.
With 1:01 left in the first, Tszyu found himself looking up at Gausha (22-3-1, 11 KOs) from the seat of his pants, after landing on the canvas from a counter right hand. Gausha went after Tszyu with a flurry of shots, but Tszyu wouldn’t fold.
“It was a simple flash knockdown,” Tszyu said. “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 was just enjoying myself. 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.”
Complicating matters for Tszyu was a cut on his left hairline from a clash of heads in the first.
“I felt that I had him in trouble after the knockdown,” Gausha said. “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.”
A right uppercut from Tszyu in the last minute of the fourth seemed to change the course of the fight. That led to a dominating fifth for Tszyu, who landing thudding body shots on Gausha, setting up a chopping right hand with 2:24 left in the frame which had Gausha doubled over and in serious trouble.
His heavy pressure and high workrate overwhelmed Gausha at times, leading him to a dominant win despite the slow start.
What lies in Tszyu’s future is anyone’s guess. The winner of the May 14 Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano 154-pound undisputed bout is an option..
“I can improve on everything.” Tszyu said. “Everything and anything. There’s a lot more to learn. I just have to keep going, keep training hard and keep improving. I have to keep fighting warriors like Terrell Gausha.
“I’ll definitely be there for Charlo-Castano. I’ll definitely be watching. I’m coming for the two boys. Whoever wants it, come get it.”
Michel Rivera outpoints Joseph Adorno to stay undefeated
Using a great, steady jab, great distance and great patience, Michel Rivera systematically broke down the previously undefeated Joseph Adorno for a 10-round unanimous decision victory in lightweight action.
In his Muhammad Ali motif, Rivera (23-0, 14 KOs) got the easy nod on the identical 97-93 scorecards of judges Gary Ritter, Patrick Morley and Tim Taggart, Sr., though they agreed on only four of the 10 rounds.
“That was four months of practicing in camp,” Rivera said. “I feel so good. I was looking for the knockout but that undefeated guy is tough. I know him. He’s a power-puncher but the aggression that ‘Ali’ has is too much.
“I have a good corner. A great trainer in Herman Caicedo and also Jukka Toivola. But I have talent and I made the sacrifice. Everybody now knows me. I say that I am the reincarnation of Muhammad Ali because I work so hard. I work so hard so the people are comparing me to Muhammad Ali. But yes, I’m definitely ready for a world title shot.”
Rivera, who’s friends with Adorno, used his 71-inch reach, which was a three-inch advantage over Adorno, to build a substantial lead through five rounds. A bruise began forming high on Adorno’s right check.
“I would have stopped him if he didn’t keep on moving,” Rivera said. “Every time I wanted to land a big right he kept moving out of the way. I thought later in the fight he would slow down and stand and trade, but he kept on moving.
“The friendship didn’t come into play. I would fight my own family member if they step into the ring with me. When you agree to fight me, we’re going to fight. And then after we can be friends. I give this performance a great grade, an A.”
For a brief spell in the seventh, 30 seconds into the round, Rivera pinned Adorno (14-1-2, 12 KOs) against the ropes and strafed him with a couple of left hooks. Adorno tried to engage Rivera in the 10th, but by then, it was too late to be urgent.
“I want Tank (Gervonta Davis),” said Rivera. “He has my belt. I want what is mine. That’s the guy that I want next. After he beats Rolly (Romero), I’m ready to take my belt. I used my jab to great success tonight. You see how Muhammad Ali had a great jab? That’s what I used tonight to do what I had to do to win.
Elvis Rodriguez delivers career-best performance
Gradually, super lightweight southpaw Elvis Rodriguez is working his way back, after suffering a majority decision loss to Kenneth Sims Jr. in May 2021. Rodriguez is on the rise once again after he opened the SHOWTIME telecast with an impressive seventh-round knockout of Juan Velasco in a scheduled 10-round fight.
It was Rodriguez’s second-straight victory since last year’s setback.
“I wasn’t surprised that I was able to dominate this fight,” Rodriguez said. “I was ready to demonstrate my skills with all of these fans here. I trained really well because I knew that Velasco was going to be a tough opponent.
“In the beginning of the fight, I started feinting and I was moving around a lot. But when I started making the combinations, I saw that it was hurting him so I kept with the power punches.”
Rodriguez (13-1-1, 12 KOs) patiently broke the rugged Velasco down, ultimately flooring him three times in the seventh, before referee Gary Ritter intervened and mercifully stopped it at 2:49 of the seventh.
Already cut on his left eye, Velasco (23-3, 14 KOs) was dropped by a Rodriguez right hook the first time, a right hook and a right uppercut downed him the second time and a left hand put Velasco down a third time, all in the seventh.
“I thought the fight was going to be over after I first knocked him down,” Rodriguez said. “But he did surprise me because he came back in that round. I just covered myself well for the remainder of that round and tried to take him out. I knew that he was having trouble with his eye. I could see that he was cut on the left eye and was also bleeding from his nose.
“I’m ready for anybody at 140 pounds. Gervonta Davis, Rolly Romero, whoever. I’m ready and prepared. I knew that Velasco would come out swinging because he had the edge in experience as well. However, his stamina kept dropping as my shots kept getting stronger.
“I want to fight the biggest names, the marquee ones. The 140-pound division is lit and I’ll be ready for whichever contender comes next.”
For a closer look at Tszyu vs Gausha, check out our fight night page.