Paul Gallen, 40, threatened on Wednesday night with one of the biggest comeback wins in recent Australian boxing history, clipping a blow from Kris Terzievski before coming back into the fight and desperately chasing a remarkable win by knockout that proved just out of reach.
The former NRL star showed off his trademark toughness with a sensational ninth-round fightback but ultimately fell to a unanimous decision loss, with all three judges scoring the contest 97-92 against an exhausted Terzievski.
Gallen conceded that “the age is undefeated” but refused to end his boxing career after the loss, just the second of his professional career.
Earlier, Nikita Tszyu earned a declaration of victory with a first-round TKO of Mason Smith, while Harry Garside retained his Australian title with a masterclass performance that lasted seven rounds before the referee intervened to put end of the procedure.
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After dominating the contest from the opening rounds, the momentum shifted in round seven when Kris Terzievski was docked a point for pushing, after being repeatedly warned by the referee about the deliberate tactic.
Gallen – already sporting a black eye on his battered face – seemed to find a second wind after looking on his feet in the middle of the fight.
The crowd began to roar as Gallen began an onslaught from a tiring Terzievski. By the ninth round, both fighters looked completely exhausted, with Gallen desperate for a knockout.
Gallen’s remarkable resurgence on the verge of a mid-round stoppage defeat was such that the Newcastle crowd chanted the league legend’s name and rained boos on 32-year-old Terzievski.
Terzievski’s title bid appeared to crumble – as did his gloves, with up to 30cm of duct tape flying from his hands as Gallen launched a murderous assault. The referee controversially opted out, although Terzievski was potentially guilty of another penalty point given the tape had come undone at several points in the fight.
In round ten, Terzievski appeared to be purely trying to avoid any kind of contact, dancing away from Gallen in an attempt to bleed the clock and preserve what both sides acknowledged was a one-sided points decision.
Gallen valiantly charged after his opponent, but could never land the killing blow. Gallen said: “I was coming for him, but he’s too good a boxer and he got away from me.”
Terzievski, now Australian and Australian heavyweight champion, graciously praised the 40-year-old, saying: “Hardest guy I’ve ever punched in my life. Literally probably the toughest man in Australia.
“He bought the dog in me, which I am very respectful and grateful for. I am rooted,” he added.
Gallen had previously vowed to retire from boxing at the end of 2022, but his declining speed and the punishment he received on Wednesday could convince him to hang up the gloves immediately.
“I guess there’s an old saying, age is undefeated and it kinda caught up with me,” Gallen said after the fight.
He added that he “felt really heavy and slow” in parts of the fight, as he landed body shots from his much taller opponent.
Gallen consistently struggled to shut down his rival or land effective shots from close range, with Terzievski showing impressive ringcraft and movement.
Despite the loss, however, Gallen did not immediately announce his retirement.
“I’m not going to make decisions now (about my future). I just felt between those rounds, I couldn’t go like I normally do.
“I’ve had a great time involved in the sport…we’ll see what happens next.”
TOTAL BRUTALITY AS TSZYU WINS EASILY
The 2-0 Nikita Tszyu needed less than a lap to stop Mason Smith in a brutal display.
A huge uppercut caught Smith early on, knocking him to the canvas, and from then on it was academic.
“He’s got sleeping pills in both hands,” Ben Damon said during the Main Event.
Tszyu was all smiles as he laughed and said after the fight, “It’s the blood that gets to me. That’s what I love, seeing that blood, that bloody nose. The joy I felt!
Damon jokingly replied, “You’re not quite right, Nikita Tszyu.”
Tszyu continued, “I expected him to just try boxing. I was hoping to get six laps out of it and really pick up the pace in the final laps. But he came with the bombs, so I just had to trade with him.
Asked about his plans for the future, he said: “I just want to keep improving. I always thought I took a few shots that I shouldn’t have. There were still a lot of mistakes that I made. Always proud of where I am. They really are all baby steps.
“I’ve been playing this sport for a few months now – since November. There is so much more to improve, just keep focusing.
When asked to give himself a grade out of ten, he replied, “I give him a six, six and a half.”
Brother Tim Tszyu was more complimentary: “He just knocked out a guy. 10! He rejoices to have warned the world of his brother’s immense power: “I told you so. I told everyone! Wait until he starts knocking everyone out now. Give him time, he’ll knock out the whole division in Australia – except me!
GARSIDE RETAINS AUSSIE TITLE
Just five weeks after going 10 rounds to win the Australian lightweight title, Harry Garside retained that belt with a masterclass performance that saw him claim a referee stoppage in the seventh round on a badass Layton McFerran.
Garside’s footwork and hand speed were nothing short of sublime, dumping combination after combination in a largely one-sided affair on his 30-year-old Tasmanian rival.
McFerran was never knocked down and refused to back down despite being punched, and was upset when the referee stepped in to call off the fight in the seventh round.
But the great Jeff Fenech, in a comment on the Main Event, called it a “great stoppage”, saying, “He just got way too much punishment.”
There was significant post-fight concern as Garside, 24, revealed a bloody hand – with burgundy visible on his knuckles through his wrap – and said he battled hand injuries during the fight. several recent fights.
“He’s got a nasty scab that just cracked open,” Ben Damon revealed after the fight.
Garside said he would look to recover from the injury but said in the ring: “I want to fight another couple or three times” in 2022.
He was applauded for his sportsmanship as he congratulated McFerran immediately after the stoppage.
FIGHTER FALLS OFF RING BEFORE CORNER FIGHT
A long-awaited fight between fierce rivals Hassan Hamdan and Trent Girdham delivered in spades in an awful stoush. The pair had traded verbal barbs for months before the fight, including at Tuesday’s weigh-in.
And he lived up to his passionate bill in an all-out war. Girdham knocked down his rival in the first round, but Hamdan – coached by the legendary Jeff Fenech – recovered well and had the better of the later rounds.
In the sixth and final round, the pair struggled and Girdham was sent crashing to the canvas with half his body outside the ring – his legs smashing against an official’s table and sending objects and drinks fly.
Girdham appeared injured and even stretched a leg as he placed a foot on the ring’s top rope. Shortly after, he was rocked by a brutal punch, before sticking his tongue out, fully extending his arms and roaring at Hamdan.
The six-round war was finally given in Hamdan’s favor by unanimous decision (57-56, 58-55, 58-55), which sparked an ugly brawl between the two sides.
Girdham (now 3-1) walked out of the ring without shaking hands with 5-0 Hamdan. A member of Girdham’s team furiously pulverized Hamdan, before Hamdan’s father Nader – a former world title contender – responded by shoving the opposing cornerman.
Hamdan’s coach, Jeff Fenech, said of the tragedy: “I’m a little disappointed. (Girdham’s trainer) Rodney and those guys, if they honestly thought their fighter won the fight, there’s something wrong… We shouldn’t need this shit after a great fight like this -the.
Earlier Aussie fan favorite Sam Goodman picked up an 11th consecutive win with a sensational win over tough Japanese challenger Fumiya Fuse.
The undefeated Australian – one of the most popular figures on the national boxing scene – will also likely earn a world ranking around 10th by these two organisations.
Southpaw Fuse, 11-1 early in the fight, knocked the Aussie down with a perfectly timed counter left hook in the third round.
But Goodman jumped to his feet and – despite a conservative game plan in a slow fight – won every round besides the third to secure a 98-91 (x3) unanimous decision victory that earned him both the IBF Intercontinental and WBO. Oriental super rooster belts.
FULL CARD AND RESULTS
– Kris Terzievski defeats Paul Gallen by unanimous decision (97-92 x3) (Australian and Australasian heavyweight title)
– Nikita Tszyu defeats Mason Smith via first-round referee stoppage
– Harry Garside defeats Layton McFerran via referee stoppage in Round 7 (Australian Lightweight Title)
– Sam Goodman defeats Fumiya Fuse via unanimous decision (98-91 x3) to win the IBF intercontinental and WBO Oriental super-bantamweight titles
– Hass Hamdan defeats Trent Girdham by unanimous decision (57-56, 58-55 x2)
– Sara Jalonen defeats Amber Amelia by split decision
– Hironiri Mishiro defeats Francis Chua by split decision
– Linn Sandstrom defeats Floryvic Montero by majority decision for the WBC Australasian super flyweight title
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