THE eyes of the Australian sporting public were firmly fixated on the Hordern Pavilion on Friday night.
With a lack of mainstream sports to compete against, boxing took centre stage as Paul Gallen headlined a card stacked with competitive and evenly-matched domestic fights.
Tabbed as a future star, Tszyu (12-0, 10 KOs) has shown a remarkable amount of improvement over the last six months.
Despite a limited amateur career, the 24-year-old has taken to the punch-for-pay ranks with genuine ease. The Sydney-based prospect has blitzed his opposition so far – Wade Ryan aside – and is looking like a genuine contender in a stacked division.
Although Denton Vassell (now 25-6, 11 KOs) was removed from his best days, the Manchester-based former Commonwealth champion has faced some marquee names and offered resistance.
The fact that Tszyu blitzed his way to a second round stoppage should be seen as a highlight, rather than a blemish or matchmaking brilliance.
The hard-hitting super middleweight has been tabbed as one to watch since bursting onto the scene last year.
Tapia (now 9-0, 5 KOs) now has the unique trophy that is marking the first blemish on three consecutive unbeaten opponents. Further to this, his dominant win over the equally talented and fiercely determined Adam Copland (4-1, 2 KOs) highlighted the unseen wrinkles to his game.
Seen as a brawler with legitimate power, the MTK Global-signed prospect displayed the rare ability to not only fight on the outside, but thrive as a slick and conventional boxer.
Tasked with the duty of derailing a forward pressing opponent with world class whiskers, Tapia excelled with minimal fuss.
Four years after the departure of regularly televised boxing, a new domestic leader has emerged in the form of No Limit Boxing.
Given the budget to match a card worthy of a pay-per-view platform, Matt Rose’s company somehow exceeded expectations, delivering a card with multiple fights worthy of main event billing.
While portions of the paying public wrongly lamented the pay-per-view platform, the short-sighted nature of boxing fans was silenced with a card that will be long remembered for the right reasons.
Competitive fights on a televised platform is what the sport needs and No Limit Boxing delivered an ace on Friday night.
Officials are seldom put under the microscope, and more often than not, are not kept accountable for their mistakes.
On a night where Australian boxing was given a chance to reach a broader audience, Fear’s officiating highlighted a worrying trend of mishandling high-profile fights.
Missing two knockdowns, particularly an eighth round knockdown scored by Rocky Jerkic against Mark Lucas, signalled the need for higher standards in fights of greater magnitude.
This error was bested by a late stoppage in the main event, allowing 45-year-old John Hopoate to take excessive punishment, only for the former national titleholder to be rendered unconscious in a disturbingly late stoppage.
Photo: Louie Abigail/Photography by Rockfingrz