THE biggest fight in Australia boxing is finally here.
Boxing will celebrate its return on the biggest stage, as Jeff Horn (20-2-1, 13 KOs) meets Tim Tszyu (15-0, 11 KOs) in a pay-per-view blockbuster.
As fight fans across the country continue to fiercely debate an outcome, we spoke to a slew of industry experts to get their opinion.
Daniel Lewis, former Olympian:
Horn KO Tszyu: I’ve been in the ring with both men — and I’ve given Tszyu his only loss in the amateur ranks.
I think Horn is going to win by knockout. Either way, I want to fight the winner or loser.
Will Tomlinson, former super featherweight world champion:
Tszyu W10 Horn: I think it’s going to be a very entertaining fight. I have a lot of different thoughts on how it’ll play out. I think Jeff has taken more damage than he needed to in his last couple of fights.
When you’re constantly in the firing line, your resistance eventually diminishes. That toughness — it’s taken away from you.
I think Tim is that young and fresh fighter, with the fresh legs, and a well prepared game plan. He’ll be able to control the range, and catch him coming in.
But I say that sadly, because I really like Jeff Horn as a fighter, and as a person. I think it’s also great for Australian boxing if Tim Tszyu wins, as he’s at the beginning of his career, which could also create a national platform where he’ll continue to build his name.
This will likely result into bigger shows for Australian boxing.
Justin Fitzgerald, trainer:
Tszyu W10 Horn: It’s a real clash of styles.
Whoever applies their strengths under the big lights will come out with the victory, which I think will be Tim Tszyu.
Jeff Horn might make it tough early on, but if Tim keeps his composure, he will pick up the decision.
Jeff Fenech, former three-division world champion:
Horn W10 Tszyu: I’m leaning slightly to Horn.
I think the first few rounds will be the gauge. To win this fight, Horn must put pressure on very early — it could go either way.
Andrew Moloney, former WBA super flyweight champion:
Horn UD10 Tszyu: This is a very interesting fight, and a hard one to pick.
I’d have to go with Horn as he has fought the much higher level of opposition. I believe his relentless pressure might be too much for Tim to handle at this stage.
Dan Attias, Aus-Boxing columnist:
Tszyu W10 Horn: Look for Horn to rough up Tszyu early, perhaps even hurting the younger man before Tim finds his range and rhythm and begins to dictate the pace of the fight.
In what many are viewing as a passing of the torch type of fight, I expect Tszyu to announce his presence as Australia’s number one fighter with a close points decision victory.
Jason Moloney, world rated bantamweight:
Tszyu W10 Horn: I think this is a true 50/50 fight, which could go either way.
I’m slightly leaning towards a Tszyu points decision in a very close fight. At this stage of their careers, I think Tszyu will be the more hungry and determined fighter, which will give him an edge.
All the best to both boys, I’m sure it will be a great fight.
Paul Briggs, former two-time world title challenger:
Tszyu W10 Horn: I feel that this fight has the potential for Horn to repeat the victory that Ricky Hatton gained over Tim‘s father.
They have similar mauling styles, yet from what I have observed in my gym with Tim‘s camp is his accuracy and power. I think it will be a lot to deal with in the back end of this fight for Horn.
Horn does not deal with accurate punches very well at all, for example, Terence Crawford, so I feel that this may be a changing of the guard.
In saying that, again I reiterate the first paragraph that this fight is one that will only be lost by either participant, rather than won by either participant.
Trent Broadhurst, former world title challenger:
Tszyu TKO9 Horn: This is a classic match-up of boxer versus brawler.
We saw Tim’s father struggle with a relentless style in Ricky Hatton, so it’s an intriguing fight, as the styles are somewhat similar.
If Tim can catch Jeff early — it could be over. If not, things will get very interesting with Jeff’s relentless and awkward style. Tim is a class operator that I have shared the ring with, so I know what he’s capable of.
Sakio Bika, former WBC super middleweight champion:
Tszyu W10 Horn: It will be a very tough for Tim, as Jeff is very awkward.
But over ten rounds, I think Tim will dig deep, and get the win in the end.
Sam Labruna, trainer/promoter:
Tszyu TKO9 Horn: It’s great to see boxing back, and what a good fight this will be.
I’m tipping Tim Tszyu to survive the early onslaught, and to then takeover. I think he stops Horn in later rounds.
Billy Dib, former featherweight world champion:
Horn W10 Tszyu: Although I’d love to see Tim win. I feel like it’s too much for him at this point, he hasn’t been in with someone of the tenacity of Jeff Horn.
All the other guys he’s fought, no disrespect, they haven’t been on the level of Jeff. I just feel like it’s going to be a very difficult fight, a lot of head-butts, a lot of elbows… Tim’s not prepared for that.
Even though I’d love to see Tim win. I feel like Jeff Horn is going to be the victor in this fight.
Paul Gallen, dual sportsman:
Tszyu W10 Horn: I’m going with Tim Tszyu. I’ll always stick with a fellow New South Welshman against a Queenslander.
Jay Gray, trainer:
Tszyu W10 Horn: An epic Aussie matchup and a real opportunity for Tszyu to grow and progress as a fighter regardless of the result.
On paper sure, you have to admire and respect the depth of opposition Horn has had, and there is no doubt Tszyu hasn’t yet had to overcome adversity deep in latter rounds against that calibre of fighter. Two very different styles that make for an exciting fight.
In my opinion, Tszyu will come in as an even more evolved version of what we saw in his last outing. I believe he is sharper, faster and more conditioned than Horn, but needs to overcome Horn’s experience, awkward style and inside pressure.
Odds would suggest a victory to Horn, I’m backing an upset with a decision win to Tszyu. What better way to test your mettle and gauge where you’re at than jumping in against Horn. Respect to both men, but can only see all gain from this experience for Tszyu.
Brett Bonetti, broadcaster/journalist:
Tszyu UD10 Horn: I think Tim has the better boxing skills, but Jeff will bring the pressure especially early.
Jeff will try to rough him up and not give Tim any space. If Tim can create some distance and find his range, he will take over in the middle rounds.
Luke Jackson, former world title challenger:
Horn W10 Tszyu: If Tim can get his distance early, and adjust to Jeff’s awkward style, he can make it a tough night for him.
I think Jeff’s experience, toughness, and awkward style will be the difference in this fight.
Pat Kennedy, matchmaker:
Tszyu W10 Horn: I guess I’m like the rest of Australia. Does Tszyu have enough? Or is Horn going to wrap up another victim?
I honestly can’t say. If pressed, I’m going to say Tszyu. But I’m looking forward to it.
George Reno, trainer/matchmaker:
Tszyu W10 Horn: Tszyu takes this on points. I think he’s a very skillful boxer.
Jeff Horn is very tough, and he’s been in big wars. The timing is just right for Tszyu.
Ben Mahoney, undefeated light middleweight:
Horn W10 Tszyu: I think this is a very good match-up. Personally, I think this fight is going to be a barn burner.
Tim is smart, and he is a very sharp and accurate boxer, with his pop shots and counters. Jeff is a seasoned professional who is tough, unorthodox, and hard to read with solid power.
I think who ever shows up on the day and takes advantage can take this fight. I’m backing Jeff to get the job done. If he can execute his game plan and land those solid shots, which over ten rounds… I believe he will, he can put Tim down. Best of luck to both men.
Jason Whateley, Australian cruiserweight champion:
Horn TKO9 Tszyu: I think it’ll be a cracker fight and hard to pick a winner.
But I think Jeff’s experience and style may get him over the line. I believe he wins with a stoppage in the later rounds.
Justin Lacey, trainer:
Horn TKO8 Tszyu: Both are great fighters, and this is the ultimate battle of styles.
I think Horn will be too much for Tim, potentially even a later round stoppage… if he can get past that right hand.
Chris McCullen, former two-time Australian champion:
Horn W10 Tszyu: This is a very hard fight to pick. Tim has all the skill in the world, and has the ability to pick Jeff to pieces from the outside.
I don’t think we’ve seen the best of Tim yet… but an opponent of Jeff’s calibre and the big stage, may bring that out in him. However, if Tim allows Jeff to get inside his distance he’ll have a tough night at the office.
I think Tim will get a shock at how difficult and strong Jeff is. I’m going to go with experience and power in Jeff.
Jamie Pittman, former Olympian and former world title challenger:
Tszyu W10 Horn: My first thoughts were Tim winning by stoppage.
But as I’ve closely watched preparations, I’m thinking it’s a 50/50 fight, but I’m still slightly favouring Tim on points.
This is an exciting event for Australian boxing.
Tony Tolj, promoter/manager/matchmaker:
Horn W10 Tszyu: Horn-Tszyu is just a great fight. So many factors that the fight can go to either.
I believe Jeff will edge the fight with his experience, and the legends he’s been in the ring with.
Mateo Tapia, Australian super middleweight champion:
Tszyu TKO10 Horn: Tim Tszyu stops Horn in the tenth round.
It’ll be close up until the end, but I think Tim will be too accurate with his shots. Especially in those later rounds.
Adam Wilcock, promoter/manager/matchmaker:
Tszyu W10 Horn: Both boys have been beautifully promoted to reach this point of their respective careers. Arguably on different sides of the mountain.
My initial thought was that speed would give Tim the advantage, but could argue that it didn’t help Manny. But in that fight Jeff made best use of size and strength, I’m not sure he’ll have those advantages available in this fight.
Flip of a coin. But I’ll side with youth and hunger.
Gareth Williams, trainer/promoter:
Horn W10 Tszyu: I’ve changed my mind many times on the outcome of this fight.
But recently, I’ve stuck with my initial thoughts of a Jeff Horn decision win. I just think his big fight experience will come through, as Jeff takes Tim into deep water.
Tim is a future star, but I think this fight could be a little early in his career.
Marcos Amado, trainer:
Horn W10 Tszyu: This is a close one — but Horn by decision.
Tszyu has got a huge future and will achieve the accolades Horn has, but this fight is too soon.
There’s a difference in level of opponents faced, and experience will be the difference.
Anthony Redward, trainer:
Tszyu TKO8 Horn: Tim comes into this fight the fresher and hungrier fighter.
Whilst Horn’s battle tests can’t be discounted, they’ve taken their toll. I think Tszyu’s distancing and sharp punches will dictate this fight — particularly in the later rounds as Horn pushes forward.
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