Tim Tszyu continues to carve out his own reputation in the sport.
The second-generation contender manhandled former two-time title challenger Dennis Hogan in a 5th round stoppage win Wednesday evening at Newcastle Entertainment Centre in Newcastle, Australia.
Tszyu floored Hogan early in the frame, continuing on the attack before Hogan’s corner literally threw in the towel with roughly 0:30 to go in round five.
Preceding the fight was unnecessary drama from the camp of Hogan, who threw a fit over the threat of not being permitted to wear his sponsor brand into the ring. Hogan—who was coming off of a 7th round knockout loss to middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo in Dec. 2019—ultimately won the battle, wearing PointsBet-branded trunks into the ring.
It was the only victory he would gain on the night.
Tszyu went on the attack in the opening round, offering a vast difference in skill level between the two. The unbeaten son of Hall of Fame former lineal junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu showed poise and patience, constantly keeping Hogan well within his desired punching range while also targeting the body.
Hogan attempted to offer a rough go of it in round two. Tszyu was dealt his only modicum of adversity, as a clash of heads left him with a cut over his left eye. The Sydney native shook off the infraction and seized full control by round's end, sensing that a stoppage was inevitable.
"I could see it from round two," insists Tszyu. "We knew we had another seven, eight rounds so we paced ourselves. It’s sink or swim and we swam.
Tszyu nearly closed the show late in round three. Hogan was already showing signs of fatigue, further aided by crushing left hooks to the body by Tszyu who had his countryman in retreat toward the end of the frame.
A similar sequence transpired down the stretch in round four. Tszyu launched a two-fisted attack, connecting with right hands and left hooks upstairs as Hogan could do little more than hold in order to slow down the onslaught. Tszyu pinned Hogan along the ropes in the final 0:30 of the round, though with the transplanted Irishman making it to the bell.
It would be the last time he would get to enjoy such a scenario.
Tszyu went on the attack at the start of round five, flooring Hogan with a wicked left uppercut within the first minute for the bout's lone knockdown. Hogan beat the count though clearly bearing the look of a defeated man. Tszyu jumped on his prey, unloading a two-fisted assault before Hogan's corner tossed in the towel which prompted referee John Cauchi to stop the contest.
The loss is the third in a row for Hogan, who fell short in back-to-back title bids versus Charlo and—in more questionable fashion—Jaime Munguia in 2019. He falls to 28-4-1 (7KOs) with the loss, this marking his earliest exit as a pro.
"The caliber of my opponent, a two-time title challenger who I got out of there quicker than Charlo—not a bad achievement," quipped Tszy, who improves to 18-0 (14KOs).
The win strengthens his claim as a premier junior middleweight contender. Tszyu also further established his star power back home, playing to a third straight sizeable crowd since the pandemic with the venue completely sold out at full capacity.
Tszyu blasted out former welterweight title challenger Jeff Horn inside of eight rounds last August In Townsville, marking one of the first fights to take place in front of a large gathering since the pandemic. Tszyu was more emphatic in his most recent outing, a 1st round knockout of Bowyn Morgan last December in Parramatta.
Wednesday's win—both in terms of achievement and crowd appeal—seemed to carry a different feel to it.
"We got to come back and do this again," Tszyu stated to his adoring fans. "I fought all around Australia, this is by far the best place I’ve been to. We will be back.
A title shot could be in his near future even if not next out the gate. Currently being explored is an undisputed showdown between lineal/WBC/WBA/IBF champ Jermell Charlo (34-1, 18KOs) and unbeaten Brian Castaño (17-0-1, 12KOs), though an IBF mandatory title defense could serve as a disruptor.
Such a course of action would be the best laid route for Tszyu, who remains the number-one contender in the WBO rankings though not yet officially named as the mandatory challenger. Time remains on his side, as the 26-year-old is just now entering his prime.
Of course, that doesn't detract from his desire to conquer the world.
"We want the real straps," insists Tszyu. "And we want them here in Australia."
The bout aired live on Australia Main Event Pay-Per-View.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox