With news of Tim Tszyu potentially facing Vergil Ortiz Jr. on a Riyadh Season US card, it was younger brother Nikita who took to the stage to produce a solid defence of his Australian strap… and yet, light-heavyweight Malik Zinad stole the show with a dominant win over Jerome Pampellone.

From the eve of the fight, there was drama; with the aloof and nonchalant Tszyu having to cut weight, leaving his Creati waiting on the stage. Elsewhere, a brush with chaos almost occurred at the glove meeting between Pampellone and Zinad, forcing officials to increase security the night before.

In the preliminaries, it was women’s flyweight fighter Jasmine Parr who impressed with a surgical stoppage, the first of her burgeoning career.

Ben Hussain vs Mason Smith

Hussain’s performance was as bombastic as his walk-out in the early rounds before a few scrappy middle rounds that were littered with low blows spoiled the performance slightly. Hussain was clearly the more comfortable with putting on pressure, although the exchanges were equal throughout. Smith seemed to have a late-round resurgence before falling into a clear knockdown at the hands of Hussain, who stopped Smith in the 10th. It looked as though Hussain hadn’t even gone through all the gears – definitely one to keep an eye on, now with a WBA Oceania Super Welterweight title to his name.

Mateo Tapia vs Keiber Gonzalez

Tapia, the clear favorite, was troubled by Gonzalez throughout, forcing Tapia to take a knee – although this was ruled a slip. A sharp, empiric jab from Tapia was keeping Gonzalez at bay, although Gonzalez worked better under pressure, it seemed. Around round seven, Tapia produced work to the head and body that clearly had Gonzalez troubled. The two men proved they were made of marble, as they refused to go down. Mateo Tapia won by a narrow UD, claiming the WBO Latino Middleweight title in the process.

Clara Lescruat vs Linn Sandstrom

Lescruat was clearly dominating from the opening bell, demonstrating her champion caliber by landing and throwing all the punches whilst keeping Sandstrom from initiating. Sandstrom appeared to be operating on a different time scale to Lescruat, who was peppering her without end; Sandstrom had no answers from start-to-finish in a shut-out performance from Lescruat. The Argentinian once again retained her WBA World Super Flyweight title.

Jerome Pampellone vs Malik Zinad

Seeped in bad blood, the war between Pampellone and Zinad proved to be more of an upset than predicted. From the offset, Zinad appeared to be more comfortable than ‘The Panther’ as he took destructive blows with a smile and dished out heavy-handed blows back. Pampellone attempted to wobble Zinad with left hooks, although a big shot in the middle half of the fight instead had Pampellone wobbled. Despite a slight smear of blood from the nose, Zinad held strong throughout. Monster shots by both men sent the crowd into a frenzy more than any of the previous fights, with Pampellone refusing to go down, despite the clear pressure of Zinad. Ultimately, the night belonged to Zinad, who overcame mountains of adversity to put on a shut-out performance that put him in clear contention for the IBF strap.

Nikita Tszyu vs Danilo Creati

The main event was a more tepid affair, with a performance almost typical of Tszyu; power so intense it shuts out boxing ability on a national level. Creati was awkward and tricky in the first round, although from the first knockdown – occurring in the 2nd – he seemed to be unable to regain any presence. That is, aside from the 6th, where he managed to wobble Tszyu with a slippery counter. Tszyu shook off assaults to the torso to stalk and pin Creati in a relatively nonchalant display, much less explosive than the co-main event. Moving into rounds Tszyu had no previous experience in, his gas tank proved to be intense, refusing to slow. The hooks ultimately won Tszyu the fight, as – even with brilliant head movement – Creati had nothing for them.

Ultimately, the card proved to be exciting and engaging in the way it shook up the Australian boxing scene; particularly with the exchange of straps at the Pan-Pacific level. Absolutely, the battle between Pampellone and Zinad stole the night with a display that would be sure to satisfy on the world level.

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