Well that didn’t go quite to script.
Nikita Tszyu has defeated Ben Horn in an epic boxing fight billed as the “Battle of the Brothers” on Wednesday night.
Tszyu was the red-hot favourite to win and many predicted him to knock Horn out in the first couple of rounds.
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But the fight lasted the full six rounds, with Tszyu prevailing in the toughest bout of his carer via unanimous decision (60-54, 60-64, 59-55) to take his record to 3-0.
With Jeff Horn and Tim Tszyu cheering their brothers on from either side of the ring, it was clear family bragging rights were at stake after Tim beat Jeff in 2020.
And Ben Horn showed he was one tough customer, absorbing a mammoth 93 body shots from Nikita, while dealing out plenty of his own.
Tszyu didn’t have it all his own way in the early stages and Horn had a great third round, landing some jabs that cut Tszyu above his eye.
But the favourite recovered, dominating the fourth and fifth rounds to get back in the fight as chants of “Tszyu! Tszyu!” rang out in Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.
But Horn just wouldn’t go away and rallied in the final round, landing a huge uppercut as Tszyu wobbled on his feet but held on for the victory.
Main Event commentator Ben Damon described the “absolutely brilliant” fight as a display of “pure brutality”, adding: “What a fight we’ve seen”.
Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech added: “I’m shocked.”
After the fight, Tszyu admitted he didn’t expect Horn to put up as much of a fight.
“He’s tough, he’s as tough as they get,” the 24-year-old said.
“Yeah, most definitely. I was quite surprised. All credit to him, he’s incredibly tough.”
Boxing fans were shocked Horn took the highly-fancied Tszyu all the way.
The Daily Telegraph’s Jamie Pandaram tweeted: “Holy hell that was a war, Ben Horn with tremendous heart to go the full 6 rounds with Nikita Tszyu and rock him in the closing 30 seconds.”
Former Enzo WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli tweeted: “Horn is awful but tszyu looks physically strong and punches hard.”
Sports broadcaster Corbin Middlemas said: “Amazing fight, Nikita Tszyu will get the decision but Ben Horn won the story of the fight.
“Horn came in as a substantial underdog, not only made the final bell but had some big moments of his own in R6.”
Horn said he wasn’t badly hurt by Tszyu’s punches and challenged him to a rematch.
Tszyu vs Horn full fight card
Nikita Tszyu defeated Ben Horn via unanimous decision
Sam Goodman defeated Juan Elorde via TKO
Justin Hodges defeated Jordan Simi via unanimous decision
Darragh Foley defeated Hunter Ioane via unanimous decision
Jessica Adams defeated Ashleigh Sims via TKO (second round)
Shanell Dargan defeated Jaala Tomat via majority decision (39-38, 39-37, 38-38)
Joel Taylor defeated Michael Hall via TKO (first round)