Tim Tszyu was able to get everything he wanted out of his final fight of 2021 ahead of an eyed title shot. 

Everything other than a stoppage, of course. 

Takeshi Inoue showed resilience and bravery in going twelve one-sided rounds with Tszyu, who claimed a landslide decision Wednesday at Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney Olympic Park, Australia. Scores were 119-108, 120-107 and 120-107 in favor of Tszyu, who was credited with a final round knockdown but forced to go the 12-round distance for the first time in his career.

"That guy's built like a brick wall," Tszyu said of Inoue's durability. "I f*cking hit him with everything and he wouldn't go down." 

Tszyu has fully embraced his new ‘Soul Taker’ moniker, stalking Inoue from the opening bell. The unbeaten second-generation boxer—whose father Kostya is a long-retired, Hall of Fame former lineal junior welterweight champion—slowly walked down the visiting Inoue, economical but precise with his punches. Inoue didn't offer any reason for the regional hero to change his attack, never throwing more than one punch at a time for much of the night. 

The same pattern held true in round two. Inoue enjoyed what proved to be his best moment of the fight, landing a flush left hook upstairs. Tszyu shook off the blow and proceeded with his strategy of stalking Inoue. The undefeated contender had Inoue cornered in round three, connecting with a right hand that snapped back the head of his visiting challenger. Tszyu drove home an uppercut that Inoue took flush, though remaining upright. 

Inoue found himself in trouble once again in round five. Tszyu didn't feel the need to change the pace of the fight, shortening ring space for Inoue and landing a right hand that forced the stocky challenger to clinch. 

A brief moment of success arrived for Inoue in round six, connecting with a straight right hand. Tszyu didn't flinch as he went back on the offensive. Inoue returned to a forced defensive approach, behind a tight guard in his best effort to avoid the incoming. 

It didn't always work out for Inoue. Tszyu had the Japanese boxer reeling in round seven, landing straight right hands and ripping body shots. The crowd was sent into a frenzy as they sensed a stoppage, only for the moment to never come. The opposite occurred, in fact, as Tszyu was extended beyond the eighth round for the first time since a ten-round decision win over Dwight Richie in August 2019. 

Action slowed in the later rounds, though Tszyu never stopped trying to break down Inoue and produce a stoppage win. Inoue was unable to offer anything more than a sturdy target, though to the point of forcing Tszyu into uncharted territory in seeing the 11th round for the first time in his career. 

Tszyu previously fought past round eight just three times as a pro, all three occasions going the ten-round distance. A similar fate awaited as fatigue seemed to set in for both boxers. Tszyu continued to pound away at Inoue's midsection, taking advantage of the opening as Inoue fought behind a high guard.

The knockout never came, though Tszyu was credited with the lone knockdown of the fight. Inoue attempted to spin his way out of a clinch, getting caught with a straight right hand to the shoulder which was ruled an official knockdown. The sequence could have been ruled a slip, though Inoue was forced to take the mandatory eight count before proceeding to become the first to go twelve rounds with Tszyu. 

It was for naught, as Inoue falls to 17-2-1 (5KOs) in dropping a landslide decision. With it comes to the end of a modest five-fight win streak following a twelve-round loss to then-unbeaten WBO junior middleweight titlist Jaime Munguia in January 2019. 

Tszyu now has his sights on the same title, currently owned by Brian Castaño (17-0-1, 12KOs). The win sends Tszyu's record to 20-0 (15KOs), ending his five-fight knockout streak though good enough to retain his place as the number-one challenger to the WBO title. 

"You boys finish your little honeymoons," Tszyu proclaimed, in the direction of Castaño and lineal/WBC/WBA/IBF titlist Jermell Charlo. "I'm on a mission now and I'm taking 'em all out one by one."

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox