Tim Tszyu has been praised despite his first career boxing defeat to American Sebastian Fundora

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He may have lost his first professional fight, but Tim Tszyu earned a truckload of fresh admirers after his brutal defeat to Sebastian Fundora.

Unbeaten in 24 fights entering the Las Vegas world title showdown, Tszyu started well against his considerably taller opponent before a brutal gash to the front of his head changed everything.

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Many felt the fight should have been stopped, but the ringside doctor gave Tszyu the OK and the Australian battled bravely before losing a split decision.

Tszyu didn’t appear shocked when the result was confirmed and he immediately credited his American opponent.

“I told you I’m an old throwback fighter,” he said. “I couldn’t see, but all credit belongs to the man who won tonight.

“The momentum was rolling in the first two rounds then boom, you’re blinded completely.

“This is boxing. These things happen, it’s part of the sport. Congratulations to Fundora, he’s the new king at 154 (pounds).”

It was a response that drew widespread applause from the boxing community.

“Tszyu all class. No complaining. Credits Fundora,” well known boxing writer Dan Raphael tweeted.

In another tweet, Raphael wrote: “Gotta respect Tim Tszyu. Easily could have gotten a no contest before the end of rd 4 with the blood in his eyes. Fought like a warrior. Respect.”

Many others paid their respects to the 29-year-old son of boxing legend Kostya Tszyu.

“Tim deserve a rematch!” was one comment on X, formerly Twitter.

“Lucky he cut his head. Tim was going to win that. Rematch,” wrote another.

“Tszyu is all class indeed, he did not lose but he did not complain,” added a third.

Tszyu continued unleashing power punches despite the gash and blood constantly covering his eyes, delivering 136-101.

But Fundora was the more active, throwing almost double the punches of Tszyu, even though he only landed 19 more on the Aussie.

In the end, the judges were split with one handing it to Tszyu 116-112, while the other two gave it to Fundora 116-112 and 115-113.

There was conjecture immediately after the fight as to whether a rematch clause was in the contract, with Fundora stating in the ring he was happy to take on former unified welterweight champion Errol Spence.

As for who’s next, Tszyu said: “I’ll fight whoever, whenever, Even Errol Spence is here. I’ll fight him as well. Even Terence Crawford.

“You want a good scrap, you know who to call.”

No one left watching this epic could argue with that.

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