Olympic Qualifying Final Results

Kristy Harris won her fifth national title with a unanimous decision over Viviana Ruiz in the opening bout of the card. The contest was a scrappy affair with a lot of holding. In the opening round, Harris had the edge with her hand speed and short hooks on the inside. Harris continued to score with long right hands at range and left hooks on the inside in the second round as Ruiz had trouble finding her range. The third round was marred by a lot of holding, but Ruiz took more chances and did better as a result. Her slow start, however, gave Harris the decision.

Skye Nicolson easily accounted for Carly Salmon to earn her spot at the Asian Qualifier next year. Salmon had no answer for Nicolson’s footwork and lead hand, and while she was never in trouble, Nicolson won every round with ease.

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Photo Credit: Commonwealth Games website

Anja Stridsman made short work of Angel Rushton, scoring a first-round stoppage after Rushton’s corner threw in the towel at the end of the round. Rushton was backed up repeatedly throughout by the taller Stridsman’s jab, and when she was trapped on the ropes, Stridsman unloaded with both hands. When a left rip hurt Rushton, an eight-count was applied, and when more body shots hurt the Queenslander, the corner threw in the towel after the second count. Stridsman won both of her bouts with stoppage wins to progress to the Asian Qualifiers.

Kaye Scott proved too big and strong for Jess Messina, winning every round on her way to a unanimous decision. Messina, who has won Australian championships at 64kg (a class that wasn’t included at Tokyo 2020) was game but had no answer for Scott’s jab and combinations from the outside. When the smaller boxer got on the inside, Scott was too physically strong for her.

Caitlin Parker won every round against tall southpaw Caitlin Torrington. Using fast feet and intelligent defence, Parker circled the taller girl until Torrington stepped into her range, where Parker beat her to the punch with clean right hands and left hooks. Torrington was game throughout, but Parker’s superior speed and skillset were too much to overcome.

In the first of the men’s fights, Alex Winwood took a split decision win over Yusuf Chothia. I thought Winwood did enough to take the victory, but it was the first bizarrely scored fight of the card. Winwood won all three rounds on two of the judge’s scorecards, lost all three rounds on another while the other two judges had it 29-28 either way. From my viewpoint, Winwood’s cleaner punching and superior defence gave him the edge.

Charlie Senior put in a dominating display to upset Orion Brown, taking a majority decision. Brown’s ability to cut off the ring and put pressure on the taller Senior won him the first round on all five judges scorecards. Senior used his reach advantage well in the second and third round; landing with his jab and scoring in combinations as Brown came forward. One of the five judges scored the bout a draw; somehow giving Brown the second round before evening his scorecard with a 10-8 round for Senior in the third.

Harry Garside was always a step in front of rival Billy Polkingham, scoring a unanimous decision victory to take out the lightweight division. Garside used his quicker hands to significant effect in the first two rounds, and while Polkingham was game, Garside took both rounds clearly. Polkingham came back strong in the final round, but it was too little, too late. Garside looks to be one of our better hopes of qualifying through the Asian Qualifier.

Jason Mallia appeared to have won comfortably in his bout with fellow Victorian Elias Awad, using angles and footwork to keep the southpaw Awad on the backfoot throughout the contest. Both men were cut in the final round from head clashes in an otherwise uneventful bout. Two of the judges, however, scored the fight to Awad, but Mallia advanced with the split decision victory. I scored the bout 30-27 in favour of the top seed Mallia.

The middleweight final was due next (according to the schedule), and I assumed there was an unannounced walkover as the next bout shown on the stream was at light heavyweight. The contest between Adrian Cammarano and Kirra Ruston, which Ruston won by split decision, did not occur until the end of the program and I had turned off my stream by this time as it appeared to just be the medal ceremonies.

The light heavyweight final was another controversial decision. I thought Clay Waterman did enough to earn the decision over Paulo Aokuso, but it was close. Waterman won the first round clearly, but the second and third could have gone either way. Two of the five judges gave Aokuso every round, two of them gave Clay every round, and the final judge had it 29-28 for Aokuso. It is the second time that the 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Waterman has been eliminated from an Olympic qualifying event by close decision in the final after he lost to Daniel Lewis in 2015 at 75kg. Waterman is one to watch out for if he turns professional.

In the final bout of the evening (that I saw), Brandon Rees scored a third-round stoppage over Austin Aokuso. I had it one round apiece going into the final round before Rees landed a pair of right hands that hurt Aokuso. The referee administered an eight-count and then waved off the contest. Aokuso appeared a little bit dazed, and the camera angle didn’t really show how hurt he was.

Australian Boxing Olympic Qualifying Finals Set 

After three days of high-quality boxing, the finals of the Australian Olympic Qualification Event are set. The bouts take place this afternoon from 5PM from the Whitehorse Club in Burwood East, Victoria. The winners of today’s fights will progress to the Asian Qualifying event next year where they will try and qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

The Live Stream is available here.

Women’s Flyweight (51kg)

Kristy Harris vs Viviana Ruiz

Kristy Harris was the star of the Australian women’s amateur boxing scene in the lower weight classes for many years. Harris won a bronze at the world championships in 2016, qualified for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and won Australian titles four years in a row from 2013-2016. In 2017, Harris was upset in the quarter-finals by Viviana Ruiz, who was eventually beaten by Taylah Robertson in the final.

Robertson had won the Australian title in the years since, but her decision to turn professional and not try out for the Olympics left Ruiz as the number one seed. Ruiz has defeated Sarah Watt and Lauren Camilleri, while Harris beat Ricki Beatson and Antonia Kostantopolous to reach today’s final.

Women’s Featherweight (57kg)

Skye Nicolson vs Carly Salmon

Skye Nicolson is the heavy favourite to win after her gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Since the 57kg weight class was introduced to Olympic and Commonwealth Games competition, Nicolson has dropped down to this class after controversially losing to 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Shelley Watts at the Rio Qualifier in 2015. Nicolson won a bronze medal in the 64kg weight division at the world championships the following year, before dropping to 57kg, where she won the Australian title in 2017 and earlier this year.

Carly Salmon won the 2018 titles, but without having to face Nicolson in that tournament. In the 2017 titles, Salmon gave Nicolson her toughest fight of the competition, and she defeated Ange Harries in yesterday’s semi-final to progress. Nicolson defeated Taylah Gentzen by unanimous decision in her only bout of the tournament so far.

Women’s Lightweight (60kg)

Anja Stridsman vs Angel Rushton

Anja Stridsman looks to add to her 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal by progressing into the Asian Qualifying event with a win today. Stridsman overcame a stacked 60kg division in the 2017 Commonwealth Games trials after narrowly losing to Shelley Watts for Olympic Qualification in 2016 before dominating at the Commonwealth Games to win the gold medal. Her opponent in tonight’s final is Angel Rushton from Queensland, who received a bye to the final. Stridsman stopped Ellie Fry in two rounds to secure her place in this afternoon’s final.

Women’s Welterweight (69kg)

Kaye Scott vs Jess Messina

Kaye Scott and Jess Messina will face each other again in the final of an Australian qualifying event after Scott outpointed Messina at the Commonwealth Games trials in 2017. Scott was the longtime 75kg Australian champion, while Messina has international experience at 64kg. However, with the IOC not including a 64kg division in women’s boxing, Messina has been forced to fight up a weight division and will have her hands full with Scott, who has a natural size advantage. Scott accounted for Connie Chan by unanimous decision yesterday, while Messia won a split decision over Caity Beckett in the other semi-final.

Women’s Middleweight (75kg)

Caitlin Parker vs Caitlin Torrington

Caitlin Parker is the firm favourite at middleweight and has won the Australian title every year since a 2015 split decision loss to Kaye Scott. Parker came back and won the 2016 Olympic qualifying tournament, but missed out on Olympic selection. At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, Parker won silver and progressed to the quarter-finals at this year’s world championships. Parker’s opponent Caitlin Torrington received a bye to the final, while Parker accounted for Emma-Sue Greentree in yesterday’s semi-final.

Men’s Flyweight (52kg)

Alex Winwood vs Yusuf Chothia

Alex Winwood was the Australian champion at 52kg in 2016, and again at 49kg in 2017. The 49kg division, however, did not send an Australian representative to the Commonwealth Games in 2018. Winwood fought the 2018 gold medalist at this year’s world championships, losing on points to Galal Yafai. Winwood shut out Queensland’s Luke Martin in yesterday’s semi-final and will take on Western Australia’s Yusuf Chothia, who accounted for Tyler Harrington yesterday by unanimous decision.

Men’s Featherweight (57kg)

Orion Brown vs Charlie Senior

Number one seed Orion Brown outpointed Domenic Marciano yesterday to make his way to the final. It is the third time in a row Brown has made the final of the Australian titles, coming up short to Jack Dehany in the previous two years. His opponent this afternoon Charlie Senior scored a minor upset over 2018 Commonwealth Games representative Jack Bowen after coming through the quarter-finals on Thursday. Senior won by unanimous decision, with three of the five judges scoring every round in his favour.

Men’s Lightweight (63kg)

Harry Garside vs Billy Polkingham

2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Harry Garside meets Billy Polkingham from Western Australia for the third time in a row in a domestic amateur final. Garside and Polkingham have waged competitive battles in the final of the previous two national championships, with Garside winning both contests, but both by split decisions. Both men were too sharp for their semi-finals opponents yesterday afternoon, winning every round on every scorecard, and their fight tonight should be another great battle.

Men’s Welterweight (69kg)

Jason Mallia vs Elias Awad

Two-time defending national champion Jason Mallia has battled Terry Nickolas in the final of the nationals in the previous three years but will face fellow Victorian Elias Awad in the final this year after Awad accounted for Mark Borg yesterday. Borg upset Nickolas in the quarter-finals in probably the biggest upset of the tournament. Mallia was narrowly beaten by international veteran Lorenzo Sotomayar from Azerbaijan at the World Championships in September but dominated Connor Wilcox in last night’s semi-final.

Men’s Middleweight (75kg)

Adrian Cammarano vs Kirra Ruston

The top two seeds will meet in the men’s middleweight final after Cammarano won a tight split decision over 2018 Commonwealth Games, gold medalist, Campbell Sommerville and Ruston scored last night’s only stoppage, knocking Luca Fiori out in the first round. Cammarano and Ruston battled in the semi-finals of the nationals earlier in the year, with Cammarano taking a split decision. Ruston had a tight split decision win over Ben Hussain on Thursday, so it will be interesting to see how much both men have left after hard fights in the previous day’s competition.

Men’s Light Heavyweight (81kg)

Paulo Aokuso vs Clay Waterman

2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Waterman came into this tournament unseeded after losing in the semi-finals of the previous two national championships. Aokuso was one of the men who defeated Waterman, scoring a split decision over him in this year’s nationals. Aokuso has had two hard fights to reach the final, scoring close decisions over Daniel Stuart and Donald Jones. Waterman scored a split decision over Eddie Coumi in Wednesday’s quarter-final and dominated Roger Grant last night to set up the rematch.

Men’s Heavyweight (91kg)

Austin Aokuso vs Brandon Rees

In another rematch, Austin Aokuso and Brandon Rees fight for heavyweight honours after a split decision went to Aokuso in the national championships earlier this year. Rees won the national championships last year after losing in the final of the 2018 Commonwealth Games trials to eventual silver medallist Jason Whateley. Both men are coming off tough split decision wins in the semi-finals last night.

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Tim Tszyu stops Brubaker

Tim Tszyu moved to 15-0 last night with a fourth-round stoppage over Jack Brubaker. Brubaker was game early on, but Tszyu had tamed him early, and the bout was one-sided after that.

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Photo Courtesy http://www.mainevent.com.au

Tszyu had Brubaker in trouble twice in the second round, once from a body shot and once from an uppercut and he went to work in the third round, landing vicious right hands and left rips that were set up from a pawing jab. The end came early in the fourth when Brubaker’s chief second Jeff Fenech threw in the towel, with Tszyu dishing out punishment with both hands.

Where does Tszyu go from here? Well, Brubaker was a step backwards in competition from Dwight Ritchie and Joel Camilleri, so this fight proved very little. It is clear that Tszyu is emerging as a contender, and he will definitely need to step up his competition. Domestic contests with Michael Zerafa, Jeff Horn or Daniel Lewis are mouth-watering, but anyone below those levels would be a waste of time.

On the undercard, David Light dropped Trent Broaqdhurst four times in three rounds, forcing the referee to stop the contest. Bruno Tarimo outpointed Nathaniel May over ten rounds in the best fight of the night, and Luke Boyd took Masing Waramara out in the first round.

Australian Olympic Qualification Tournament; Day 2 Results

Afternoon Session

In the opening bout of the day, 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Anja Stridsman progressed to the final of the tournament with a 2nd round stoppage against Victoria’s Ellie Fry. Stridsman will fight Queensland’s Angel Rushton on Saturday night in the final of the Women’s lightweight (60kg) division. Angel is the daughter of renowned trainer Glenn Rushton.

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Photo: Boxing Australia

The men’s featherweight (57kg) division saw points wins to South Australia’s Domenic Marciano and Western Australia’s Charlie Senior (over Lorenz Daley and Connor Read respectively). Marciano fights the number one seed Orion Brown from Queensland, while Senior fights Victoria’s number two seed Jack Bowen in the first session this afternoon.

 

A major upset occurred in the last of the men’s welterweight (69kg) quarter-finals. Mark Borg from Sydney scored a close, but unanimous decision over the number two seed Terry Nickolas. Nickolas, who represented Australia at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, had lost narrowly in the final of the previous two national titles to Jason Mallia, and many were expecting these two to again compete in the final. Borg fights Elias Awad from Victoria in tonight’s semi-final after Awad went through on a technical decision. Mallia accounted for Queensland’s Dylan Biggs by unanimous decision and will fight Queensland’s Connor Wilcox, who overcame Shaun Schaff by a split decision.

Evening Session

The quarter-finals of the stacked women’s flyweight (51kg) division opened the evening session. Number one seed Vivianna Ruiz easily accounted for Queensland’s Sarah Watt by unanimous decision in the first bout and will meet Lauren Camilleri tonight. Camilleri dominated Jemma Peart, winning 30-24 on all cards over three rounds. 2014 Commonwealth Games participant and 2016 world championship bronze medalist Kristy Harris defeated Ricki Beatson on points and will fight Antonia Konstantopolous, who narrowly outpointed Astrid Carmelo.

In the Men’s middleweight (75kg) quarter-finals, number one seed Adrian Cammarano advanced after a technical decision against Douglas McDonnell. Cammarano faced 2018 Commonwealth Games representative Campbell Sommerville in one of the best matchups of tonight’s evening session. Queensland’s Luca Fiora won every round against Troy Macnamara and will face Kirra Ruston in the other semi-final tonight after Ruston narrowly outpointed Benn Hussain.

The final bouts took place in the men’s heavyweight (91kg) division. Top seed Austin Aokoso won a split decision over Adrian Paoletti and will fight Gianni Riboni, who overcame Bladen Baird, also by split decision. Tonight’s other semi-final will see Western Australias Brandon Rees, who dominated Todd Slaughter, against Jackson Welsh, who outpointed David Hadfield.

This afternoon’s bouts start at 1PM, with the women’s welterweight and middleweight semi-finals before the men’s flyweight, featherweight and lightweight semis. The evening session has the women’s flyweight and featherweight matches, before the men’s welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight semi-finals. The full draw is available here, and the pay per view is available here.

Australian Olympic Qualification Tournament; Day 1 Results

A four-day tournament is currently taking place in Melbourne to determine Australia’s representatives at next year’s Asian Qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Prior to 2016, Australian boxers would compete in the Oceania Qualifier, with their toughest competition coming usually from New Zealand. However, after Australia sent boxers in all weight divisions to the London Olympics in 2012 (and fielding the largest boxing team at that Olympics), the Oceania region has joined into the Asia region and qualification for Australian athletes became much tougher. At 2016, only Daniel Lewis, Jason Whateley and Shelley Watts managed to qualify.

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Photo credit: Boxing Australia

Yesterday saw the first of the preliminary contests take place. In the Women’s featherweight division (57kg), Taylah Gentzen won a split decision over Ericka Creely while Ange Harris dominated Sophie Ingledew. Both winners have a tough ask in their semi-final bouts, with Gentzen facing 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Skye Nicholson while Harris faces Victoria’s 2018 National Champ Carly Salmon.

The other Women’s bout on the card saw a split decision win for Queensland’s Connie Chan over Jenna Godkin, who will face Commonwealth Games medalist Kaye Scott in the semi-final in the welterweight division. The IOC decided not to include a 64kg division for women, meaning that the female competitors in between lightweight (60kg) and welterweight (69kg) had to either fight larger competitors or dangerously try and make a division they were too big for.

The first of the men’s fights took place at lightweight (63kg) where Baz Wallace scored a split decision over Shaun Thomas. Wallace faces 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Harry Garside in the semi-finals. Garside is perhaps the strongest competitor pound for pound in Australian male amateur boxing, winning the Australian title in the last four years. The other semi-final at lightweight sees Billy Polkinghorn from Western Australia against Joshua Fitzpatrick from New South Wales.

At welterweight (69kg), Sydney’s Mark Borg scored a close decision over Callum Cassidy. It was a solid win for the young Borg, who represented Australia at the Youth Commonwealth Games in 2017, with Cassidy having over ten years experience in National titles including a 2010 win over Jeff Horn. Dylan Biggs prevailed over Jason Fawcett by close decision in the other contest. Both Biggs and Borg have tough asks in today’s quarter-finals, facing the number one and two seeds respectively in Jason Mallia and Terry Nickolas. Mallia and Nickolas have appeared against each other in the finals for the last three years, with Mallia winning the last two after Nickolas won the 2017 Commonwealth Games selection.

At middleweight (75kg), Douglas McDonnell made quick work of Luke Gersbeck, stopping him at 2:31 of the first round for the night’s only stoppage win. McDonnell faces number one seed Adrian Cammarano in a stacked division that also sees 2018 Commonwealth Games representative Campbell Sommerville and Kirra Ruston. The quarter-finals take place today.

The quarter-finals at light heavyweight (81kg) took place last night in perhaps the most stacked division of the competition. Paulo Aukoso, who upset 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Clay Waterman at the last nationals, won a close decision over Daniel Stuart. Aukoso meets Donald Jones, who won a split decision over Nathan Nicholas. Waterman won his quarter-final with a decision over 2018 national champion Eddie Coumi, and will face Roger Grant, who defeated Michael Lekkas by unanimous decision.

The final bout of the night saw Adrian Paoletti outpoint Canberra’s Benjamin Bradley to progress to tonight’s quarter-finals.

There are two sessions today, the first session starting at 1PM and the second session at 5PM. 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medalist Anja Stridsman is in action today at 1PM, with the men’s welterweight quarter-finals taking place after. This afternoon’s action sees the quarter-finals of the stacked Women’s flyweight (51kg), Men’s middleweight and heavyweight divisions. You can stream the action via the following link.

Tszyu-Brubaker Preview

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Photo Courtesy http://www.mainevent.com.au

Tim Tszyu takes another step towards becoming Australia’s leading boxer on Friday night when he takes on fan favourite Jack Brubaker at the ICC Exhibition Centre in Sydney. The ten-round junior middleweight clash headlines a rather stellar card, with Western Australia’s Nathaniel May and Queensland’s former world title challenger Trent Broadhurst fighting in well-matched fights. The card will be televised on Main Event pay per view.

Luke Boyd vs Masing Waramara

2008 Olympian Luke Boyd is one of the lesser-known prospects in Australia. Boyd was a standout amateur, scoring a 2011 win over Jason Moloney, who is currently ranked as the #8 bantamweight in the world by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, before he narrowly missed out on the London Olympics. Since turning professional, Boyd has scored eight wins from as many fights, with all eight coming inside the distance. In his most recent trip to the ring, Boyd scored a 37 second knockout over undefeated Jon Jon Jet.

His opponent Masing Waramara hails from Vanuatu. Waramara has won three out of his four recorded professional bouts, with his lone loss coming to Victorian Jai Alexander by split decision in September. Boyd should start as a heavy favourite, especially with his knockout power and Olympic experience. Waramara, however, shouldn’t be completely ruled out. His bout with Alexander took place a full weight division above what Boyd usually competes at, and his competitiveness with one of Australia’s better featherweight prospects suggests that he is a game opponent.

Trent Broadhurst vs David Light

Former world title challenger Trent Broadhurst takes on his first real test in his new weight division, battling New Zealand’s top cruiserweight (90.7kg) David Light. Broadhurst moved up from light heavyweight after back-to-back first-round stoppage losses. The first of those losses came against the current #1 independently ranked light heavyweight contender Dmitry Bivol, before he lost to Australia’s top light heavyweight Blake Caparello in June of last year.

David Light is one of New Zealand’s hottest prospects. He narrowly missed out on an Olympic Games spot in 2012, losing to Australia’s Jai Opetaia in the final of the Oceania Qualifier. Unlike Opetaia, Light reached the podium at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, earning a silver medal. Since joining the paid ranks, he has won all fourteen of his professional bouts, including a comprehensive points win over Australia’s Mark Flannagan.

While some have labelled this matchup a fight between Australia and New Zealand’s best cruiserweights, Broadhurst has not yet proved himself worthy of that claim. While Jai Opetaia has essentially cleaned out the domestic cruiserweight division over the last couple of years, Broadhurst has faced relatively weak opposition since he moved up from light heavyweight. With Light’s natural size advantage and better recent competition, and Broadhurst’s recent knockout losses in the lower weight divisions, Light has to start as the favourite.

Nathaniel May vs Bruno Tarimo

Western Australian featherweight Nathaniel May looks to bounce back from his first loss in five years when he battles Tanzanian Bruno Tarimo. In July, May travelled to the United Kingdom to battle former world title challenger James Dickens. May put up a respectable effort, losing a competitive ten-round decision in Dickens’ hometown. Prior to that loss, May had won 17 straight fights, being ranked behind only Luke Jackson at featherweight.

Bruno Tarimo is a familiar figure on the Australian boxing scene, despite spending the first five years of his career in his native Tanzania. In March of last year, Tarimo upset Billel Dib in Tweed Heads, scoring a ten-round majority decision. Dib avenged the loss five months later, but Tarimo has been back n Australian soil twice since, scoring back-to-back wins over amateur standout Josh English and former world-rated featherweight Joel Brunker.

This ten-round super featherweight clash could very well steal the show. While May’s slick boxing skills could give him the edge, Tarimo is a physically strong boxer who has solid counter-punching abilities and sound fundamentals. While Dickens is likely on a different level to Tarimo, his ability to draw leads from the Western Australian and land with his counter punches could provide a glimpse into the Tanzanian’s strategy.

Tim Tszyu vs Jack Brubaker

Tim Tszyu continues to try and display his dominance from the competitive junior middleweight division after points wins over Joel Camilleri and the late Dwight Ritchie earlier this year. With the Jeff Horn-Michael Zerafa rematch on later this month, and  both of those men having fought below the middleweight limit in the past, a huge domestic blockbuster is in the pipeline for Tszyu should he score a big win.

Brubaker has established himself as the action hero of Australian boxing in his recent fights, both of which took place on Tim Tszyu undercards. A ten-round draw with Ty Telford and an eighth-round stoppage over Danny Kennedy were both highly memorable wars. Brubaker has won three of his last four since a sixth-round stoppage loss to Kris George, in what was a fight between Australia’s second and third best welterweights at the time.

After Tszyu’s wins over Camilleri and Ritchie, many were hoping to see him continue to step up the competition. While Brubaker is a fun matchup, I believe this is a mismatch and a step backwards for Tim. Tszyu is the better technical boxer, and the larger man and Brubaker has struggled with lesser opposition in his previous two encounters. Brubaker’s all-action style will play right into the hands of the patient, more powerful Tszyu, and I can see Brubaker taking a beating before Tszyu finishes him off in the middle rounds.