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Answering all of the burning questions ahead of Tim Tszyu vs. Takeshi Inoue

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Tim Tszyu: I've got the world's attention now (0:37)

Tim Tszyu says he wants to fight the world's best in Australia after stopping Dennis Hogan in the fifth round. (0:37)

Australian boxing star Tim Tszyu (19-0, 15 KOs) returns to the ring on Wednesday, November 17 to battle accomplished Japanese fighter Takeshi Inoue (17-1-1, 10 KOs).

The bout was originally scheduled to be held on the Gold Coast but was forced to be shifted to Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney last month due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The son of boxing legend, Kostya, Tszyu seems to improve with each outing and many are expecting him to once again prevail and take another step towards a title fight.

So how will the fight pan out? Who wins? And what can we expect in the aftermath? Jake Michaels answers all of the burning questions.

*Don't forget to check back to ESPN on fight night as we bring you live round-by-round ringside coverage and the best reaction from Sydney.


Will this be Tszyu's greatest test to date?

In short, yes. Inoue may not exactly be a name that resonates with a vast number of Australians, even those familiar with boxing, but make no mistake, the 31-year-old from Tokyo, Japan is a high caliber fighter. Inoue is ranked No. 7 in the world for good reason and has already faced some elite opponents, most notably Jaime Munguia in a 2019 title fight. While Inoue came up short, he earned high praise for his gutsy effort, power and ability to take the fight the distance, something only six of 37 fighters have been able to do against the Mexican superstar. In his four fights which have followed Munguia, Inoue has had little trouble, using his strength and size to put away his opponents. Like Tszyu, Inoue will be hoping this fight acts as a springboard to another title opportunity, which means there will be no shortage of motivation.

Should Tszyu be concerned over Inoue's ripped physique?

It's fair to say Inoue arrived on Australian soil in elite physical condition. The Japanese star raised eyebrows late last week when he unveiled his rock hard, muscle-bulging torso that has left many wondering if he may in fact be the man to hand Tszyu his first professional loss. Former world champion Billy Dib noted that Inoue "looks like a bodybuilder," but Tszyu knows aesthetics are only part of the equation. "I saw he was ripped but muscles don't win fights. Everyone knows that," Tszyu claimed. "I'm 10 times stronger than him and he'll feel it."

Why Tszyu can win the fight?

Tszyu has made a name for himself as a precise, intelligent fighter who enjoys applying the pressure and making his opponent work from the outset. That will again be the way in which the 27-year-old approaches this battle, though I expect he will steer clear of any early risk as he gets comfortable with Inoue's unique style. One of Tszyu's greatest strengths is his ability to figure out his opponents mid-fight, so don't be surprised if he ups the intensity after the first few rounds and begins to fire off his famous bone-rattling body shots which have held him in such good stead in the early part of his career. If Inoue can't find a way to avoid taking those hits, the fight could very quickly get away from him.

Why Inoue can win the fight?

The notable advantage Inoue has coming into this clash is that he's a man who possesses big fight experience. Don't underestimate that. He knows what to expect and shouldn't be overawed by the occasion, something which we've seen at various times with some of Tszyu's more inexperienced opponents. The other area which could hold Inoue in good stead is his size. He is clearly a bigger body than what Tszyu has battled in the past and it could cause some problems for the Australian. Inoue will be relying on that size and power to unsettle Tszyu, and if he can catch him off guard early, he might just be the one having his hand raised.

So who will actually win the fight?

It's hard to look past the home favourite here. Each time we see Tszyu in action he seems to take his game to another level and there's no reason why it shouldn't happen again on Wednesday in Sydney. Tszyu told media in the build-up to the fight that he doesn't expect it to progress past six rounds, and I tend to agree. I would expect Tszyu to start getting on top after three or four, and if that's the case, it could be over shortly after.

Prediction: Tszyu by KO in the sixth round

If Tszyu wins, what can we expect from him next?

I feel a little like a broken record saying this, but we really should be expecting a world title shot. If Tszyu wins on Wednesday night he will maintain his ranking as the No. 1 challenger for Argentine Brian Castano's WBO belt. Castano has not fought since he battled American Jermell Charlo -- who holds the WBA, WBC and IBF division titles -- back in July, a fight which ended in a draw. It's possible Tszyu could earn a date with Castano next year and challenge for his first world title but the Australian would likely have to go through someone such as former junior middleweight champion Tony Harrison, who recently announced he would be willing to fight Tszyu in Australia. Tszyu's father Kostya also revealed discussions are ongoing for his son to fight in Russia as early as next year.