They call him the Butcher for a reason.
Nikita Tszyu has claimed another victim, defeating Bo Belbin via unanimous decision in the pay-per-view opener ahead of his brother’s blockbuster fight.
Fighting on the same card as older brother Tim for the first time and with mum Natalia watching ringside, Nikita produced a slick performance against Belbin at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday.
Watch undefeated Aussie superstar Tim Tszyu return to the ring for his biggest fight yet versus USA’s former world champion Tony Harrison for an Interim WBO Super Welterweight title LIVE Sunday March 12. ORDER ON MAIN EVENT ON KAYO SPORTS
Sporting bleached blond hair and a chiselled physique, Nikita put his hammer hands to work in a boxing exhibition against the gutsy Tasmanian.
The 24-year-old landed some brutal combinations in the early rounds and opened up a bloody cut under Belbin’s left eye.
He dropped Belbin early in the fourth stanza before referee Will Soulos stopped the fight soon after.
The victory takes Tszyu’s record to 5-0 (4KOs) and the emerging super welterweight talent is living up to the hype every time he steps in the ring.
“The Butcher, he’s broken another one,” Main Event commentator Ben Damon said.
“The power of Nikita Tszyu is like never we’ve seen before. He’s always had power but today it’s gone to another level.
“The physique on Nikita Tszyu. Looking like he’s prepared meticulously for this one. His brother looks much the same. They’ve worked incredible hard, the Tszyu brother.”
Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech said it was the best he’d ever seen Nikita fight in his young career.
“No disrespect to Bo, Nikita’s just so much stronger than him,” Fenech said.
“Nikita is fighting a good fighter and this is by far the best I’ve seen Nikita look so far in his career, without a doubt. This is best version of Nikita I’ve seen so far.”
“This was the entree, get ready for the main meal with Tim,” Nikita said afterwards.
“It’s going to be an epic. The atmosphere is electric and Tim’s about to bring home a world title.”
Belbin landed a strong right hand early on that gave Nikita a droopy right eyelid, which he said was the wake up call he needed.
“It was kind of a shock,” Nikita told reporters of the hit he copped.
“I was like, ‘Wow, this guy’s got some power to him’. It’s good it hit me on the top of the head and not the chin.
“Now I feel what it’s like to have an eye slowly shutting.
That distorted perspective of being in a fight and losing a bit of vision. It’s a good experience, “a good lesson and I’ll keep my right hand up.
“The first round was meant to be a feel out round but we kind of got into a firefight. I learned don’t get into a firefight with this guy. My boxing ability can take care of it. Once I got comfortable with the jab, things started to follow.”
It’s the first time Nikita and Tim are fighting together on the same card and the younger Tszyu said while he was glad to set the scene for the main event, he’d rather not fight alongside his brother.
“If I lost the first fight that would have been a horrible headspace for Tim” Nikita said.
“I knew there was no other way beside victory and that stayed in my mind the whole time.”
“I wasn’t the biggest fan of it,” he said of preparing to fight on the same day as Tim.
“I was very isolated from everyone. I was in the gym virtually by myself with my grandfather and Igor. It was a very lonely camp.
“But I honestly prefer to keep our fights separated and not put more strain on my uncle, our coach, because I imagine that was a tough thing for him. He has two styles to dissect and create game plans for.
“It’s a good lesson, good experience to have.”
Follow the rest of the action including Tim Tszyu’s blockbuster fight against Tony Harrison here.