Zaluska was unconscious following a vicious early shot inside the first 30 seconds of his scrap with fearsome opponent Krystian Kuzma – known as Tyson because of his squat, muscular physique and savage knockout power – when he copped a shuddering uppercut as he slumped to the canvas, where blood was visible.
Medics attended to the clobbered contender before he was carried out on a stretcher after a defeat that sent Kuzma to the final of the single-event tournament in Warsaw, where he unsurprisingly scored another first-round win as he powered his way to gory glory.
Zaluska was not sporting any visible damage from the grim ending to his challenge on Sunday, posting a photo of himself in a car behind a thick beard, baseball cap and sunglasses while announcing: “We are coming back. We won one fight and lost the other, unfortunately.”
Fans praised the event, run by Gromda Gym and featuring ring girls in rock-style clothing next to cars outside the ring, as excellent value for the $22 pay-per-view price.
“It was great to watch,” applauded one. “Respect to the fighters.” Another posted a photo of Zaluska receiving treatment in the ring, commentating: “[He] got into the fight well but Tyson’s dynamics did the job.”
Former heavyweight boxer Artur Szpilka, who challenged Deontay Wilder for his WBC title in 2016 and was one of the co-organizers of the event, called Kuzma a “killer”.
“I think the gala exceeded the expectations of all of us,” he admitted. “It was a great show, full of emotions and every fighter showed character. Congratulations to Krystian.”
The gym’s bareknuckle contests are held in a four-by-four-meter ring and do not place a time limit on fights that reach the fifth and final round, encouraging fighters to target conclusive finishes.
Kuzma, who keeps pitbulls and dotes on his young son in his home city of Torun, said the costs of preparing for the fight with his coach had been high, enjoying few of the riches awaiting his part-namesake should the real Mike Tyson decide to take up his discipline.
Tyson is widely expected to return to traditional boxing as part of a ring return that has been hyped with footage of him looking fit and sharp in sparring, but the former heavyweight world champion has also been made a staggering $20 million offer to agree a bareknuckle fighting contest.