Tszyu steps past Horn and out of his dad's shadow

"I just want to let everyone know my name is Tim -- not the son."

The highly anticipated fight between Jeff Horn and Tim Tszyu lasted eight rounds, but it took just three rounds for the general public to sit up and take serious notice of the 25-year-old son of boxing icon Kostya Tszyu.

Until now, Tszyu had been living in his father's shadow. No doubt he was a component boxer in his own right, but the public consensus was that he was getting opportunities because of his surname.

It was a mindset shared by Horn, who claimed that someone of his world-championship-winning caliber would never fight Tszyu, if not for Kostya's legacy. He believed it was a step backward in his career.

Throughout the fight camp, Tszyu insisted that he was ready to forge his own path and write a new chapter in the family's boxing history. But few listened to him.

That is, until Wednesday night in Townsville.

For 24 minutes, Tszyu humiliated Horn and made everyone who questioned him look foolish.

He remained calm and composed as Horn came out swinging at the opening bell. But it wasn't long before he began timing and landing blow after blow. His right hand caught Horn's chin on multiple occasions early before he switched to attack the body.

By the end of the third round, Tszyu had managed to knock Horn down twice. The 32-year-old was gasping for air, and Tszyu had barely worked up a sweat. It was as one-sided as you could get, and it was only set to continue.

With each passing round, Tszyu's admirers multiplied. This is not just the son of a boxing legend. This is a man who could very well carry the torch for Australian boxing.

He was pin-pointing his shots, landing almost everything he threw at Horn. The only thing he had not managed to do was land the knockout blow against the tough and gritty Horn.

At the end of the eighth round, after Horn had taken another serious beating, his trainer, Glenn Rushton, leaned in and asked if his charge had another punch left in him. A dazed Horn could barely answer the question, and the towel was officially thrown in, handing Tszyu the victory and keeping him undefeated at 16-0.

"Tim was young, hungry. ... He's an absolute champion. I can't put anything past him," a respectful Horn said of Tszyu. "He's very good. He was on his game and was out-boxing me. He's got that young blood. He's got that champion spirit in him. I can feel it.

"He now is the No. 1 in Australia. He wasn't before tonight, but he is now. He earned it today. He can fly that flag very proudly, and hopefully all of Australia can support him now."

Tszyu simply had to win this fight if he wanted to be taken seriously, particularly from a global standpoint. Had he lost, it would have been catastrophic. The pressure was well and truly on, and he delivered.

The fact that he was able to produce such a masterclass and win every round against Australia's top boxer of the past four years shows not only his exquisite skill set but also his maturity. He never panicked, never looked overawed, never once seemed in any sort of trouble.

The only other time Horn suffered such a brutal loss was against Terence Crawford in early 2018. The American pound-for-pound superstar demolished him in Las Vegas to claim the welterweight title and leave Horn on the outer.

"This is a young man's sport. Give me competition, someone who can test me," Tszyu said after the win. "It's sink or swim, and I'm not gonna sink. I'm here to swim. I want the real-world title strapped around my waist soon."

The COVID-19 pandemic might delay the ambition of a world title fight for Tszyu, and it's unclear right now what his next move will be. But one thing is certain: At 25, he has time on his side, and he just proved that he has the quality to go far in the sport.

The Horn run might well be over, but Tszyu's is just getting started.