Nikita Tszyu’s performance “was as close to a chess match” that he could bring as he brushed aside Darkon Dryden to win his fourth professional fight via TKO at the end of round three.
It was an absolute clinic from Tszyu as he displayed his full arsenal of boxing skills both offensively and defensively throughout, skills that Dryden simply could not match.
It was an onslaught from the first bell as Tszyu landed several blows that echoed around the Newcastle Entertainment Centre.
Dryden did his best to mount some form of offence, but it was to little avail as he simply couldn’t inflict any punishment on his rival who was in and out of space within a flash.
Tszyu didn’t let up for a single second throughout the fight and eventually the beat down to Dryden’s body, head and mind became too much, with the hometown hero not making it off the stool for the fourth round, leaving Tszyu to celebrate wildly with his team in his most complete performance to date.
And wasn’t the youngest of the Tszyu clan chuffed with what he served up.
“That was as close to a chess match as I bring,” Tszyu said.
“He brought the fire. Something inside me just had to match it. Didn’t expect him to be this tough, honestly. Got me with a few body shots. It was a great learning experience for me.”
Tszyu also admitted it was “the most nervous” he’d been in his life with “so many sleepless nights”.
“I’ve never been so in tune with myself, so in tune with a particular task, and for the past three weeks I’ve just been living, breathing and thinking about this. And it came to be.”
Speaking on the Main Event broadcast, commentator Ben Damon marvelled at the “brutal” beat down from Tszyu.
“He’s broken down his opponent with the most mature performance we’ve seen from him to date,” Damon said.
“He produced the full kit of punches. He boxed, but it was brutal. The butcher with another win, and he is absolutely loving it here in Tszyucastle.”
Jeff Fenech noted Tszyu’s reaction times “was so much better than his last fight” while Barry Michael described the performance as “meticulous”.
There was a special moment between Nikita and Tim as the two planted sloppy kisses on each other’s cheek, scenes that Nikita described as “wholesome”.
Big brother Tim felt it was a flawless performance from his sibling and cheekily pointed to a new addition into Nikita’s diet that played a role.
“10/10,” Tim said.
“He boxed well. I think it was the beef liver.”
The big ‘if’ in Hogan’s world title offer to Conor McGregor
– Peter Badel
FIRST, Dennis Hogan plans to conquer the world.
Then, he will dare to dream of a big-money blockbuster against UFC legend Conor McGregor.
Hogan can erase three years of pain when the Brisbane-based Irishman fights for a world title against Sam Eggington in their IBO super welterweight showdown on No Limit’s Super Saturday boxing card in Newcastle.
At 37, Hogan concedes this – his fourth world-title attempt after three previous failures – is his death-or-glory moment.
It is also his glorious shot at redemption after his most recent world-title loss in April 2019, when many believed Hogan was robbed, losing on foreign soil to Jaime Munguia in a majority-points decision labelled the ‘Mexican Mugging’.
Now, having risen from the canvas after also being stopped by Tim Tszyu 18 months ago in Newcastle, Hogan (30-4-1, 7KO) is back in the Steel City, primed to pummel ‘The Savage’ Eggington (32-7, 18KO) and finally scale his boxing Everest.
“It would mean everything to say I am a world champion,” Hogan told News Corp.
“This is it for me.
“There is a lot riding on this fight. It will define my professional career and I can look back and say I won a world title, I ticked that box, or I will say it’s the one elusive belt that got away.
“This is very important to me, to be able to put that demon to bed after what happened in Mexico (his controversial loss to Munguia).
“I can say I have visualised having a world title and I will look at the world through different eyes if I win on Saturday night.
“It would be phenomenal … the future Dennis Hogan deserves this.”
If Hogan can dispose of British brawler Eggington, nine years his junior, his world-title breakthrough could be a golden gateway to an all-Ireland spectacular against McGregor.
Hogan’s management have already had preliminary talks with the McGregor camp about a possible world-title bout.
UFC great McGregor has dabbled in boxing – he lost to Floyd Mayweather in their $380 million mega bout in 2017 – and Hogan says he would relish a title defence against ‘Notorious’ on Irish soil.
“If I win, the first thing I will do is get in touch with Conor’s coach and say is there any chance Conor may want this?” Hogan said.
“I haven’t personally met Conor, but I went close to sparring him years ago when I was still in Ireland. We actually had the same sponsor in 2010, Big Shots Sports Nutrition.
“I would love to go back to Ireland and have a title defence there. I am due a homecoming, I haven’t fought in Ireland since my amateur days so it would be great to go back there and defend my title.
“If McGregor says no, then we will move on to the next option. But it would be a massive event. It would be a huge money fight in Ireland.
“Whenever Conor fights, as he says it’s a great party night, so that would certainly set me up nicely financially for life after boxing.”
For now, Hogan’s sole focus is Eggington and he believes his ring craft and experience will be the difference, seven months after his dominant defeat of Wade Ryan in their IBO world-title eliminator.
“He (Eggington) just wants to get into a brawl,” Hogan said.
“They expect me to be on the back foot, but I truly believe I can keep the distance and keep moving at the right angles and landing my shots.
“I never doubted I could work my way back to world-title contention.
“I am fitter, faster, sharper and smarter than him. I am very confident, I feel like it has all come together for me to finally live out my dream.”
Originally published as Boxing 2022: All the action from Super Saturday as Nikita Tszyu brushes aside Darkon Dryden