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Tszyu improves his record    

Tszyu Wins When Leija Quits at end of 6th Round

January 18, 2003

Melbourne, Australia ( - In front of his hometown, Kostya Tszyu (30-1-0-1, 24 KO) put in a very workman like performance slowly dissecting former world champion Jesse James Leija (43-6-2-1, 17 KO) in route to a 6th round TKO. The fight took place in Tszyu's adopted homeland at the Telstra Dome in Melbourne, Australia on SHOWTIME.

Tszyu retained his IBF, WBA and WBC Junior Welterweight titles when Leija quit in his corner between rounds 6 and 7 because of an alleged busted right eardrum. "I'm sure it (eardrum) is busted...I've had them before," said Leija after the fight.

Leija was very active in the early rounds, throwing wild combinations that were mostly being blocked by Tszyu. "His defense is really good. But I thought I was doing well though," said Leija. Leija landed a few solid shots in the 2nd round, winning his only round of the fight, but by the 4th round, Leija could tell he was running out of steam and Tszyu was settling in.

Tszyu started dominating the fight in the 5th round and put major pressure on Leija in the 6th round landing right uppercuts that opened up a cut by Leija's right eye. "I've seen lots of (his) fights and I knew how tough he is," said Tszyu.

Leija might have been active, but not very successful versus Tszyu. At the time of the stoppage the judges had Tszyu easily winning 58-56, 60-54 and 59-55. had the fight 59-55 for Tszyu.

In a featured Junior Welterweight undercard bout, 2000 Olympic gold medalist Muhammad Abdullaev (11-0, 9 KO) made quick work of former IBF Lightweight champion Philip Holiday (38-6-1, 22 KO) knocking him down three times in route to a 4th round TKO. Abdullaev started fast, putting Holiday down twice in the 1st round, both by right hands. Abdullaev continued putting pressure on, using his entire arsenal including sneaky uppercuts, quick left hooks and pounding right hands. Abdullaev finished Holiday off at :55 of the 4th round when he landed a thunderous right hand. The referee stopped the fight immediately putting the over-matched Holiday out of his misery.


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