In boxing terms, Tim Tszyu has blue blood running through his veins, and that combined with his own ability is sure to serve him well when he faces former WBC super welterweight champ Tony Harrison at the Qudos Bank Arena in Sydney, Australia, on Sunday.
The unbeaten contender’s father is none other than former undisputed super lightweight champion Kostya Tszyu.
Born in Russia, Tszyu represented the Soviet Union as an amateur and went on to become one of the most decorated fighters in the former nation’s history.
MORE: Where is Tim Tszyu vs. Tony Harrison?
Here’s everything you need to know about Kostya Tszyu’s legendary boxing career.
Kostya Tszyu bio, record, stats
Tszyu turned professional in March 1992, and his immigration to Australia was made official the following year. Quickly establishing himself as a red-hot prospect, the former world amateur champ blasted out 10 of 13 opponents inside the distance to set up a world title shot in January 1995.
The opponent was the ring-wise Puerto Rican lefty Jake Rodriguez. Habitually durable, the IBF 140-pound champ had once taken fierce power puncher and countryman Felix Trinidad the distance in a losing effort. However, he was no match for Tszyu, who floored him four times en route to a dominant sixth-round stoppage.
Four successful defences followed against solid opposition. The rampaging Tszyu turned back the challenges of Roger Mayweather (UD 12), Hugo Pineda (TKO 11), Corey Johnson (KO 4), and Jan Bergman (KO 6), but he was then shocked by American Vince Phillips (TKO 10) in what was later named The Ring Magazine Upset of the Year (1997).
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This defeat was a blessing in disguise.
Tszyu became even more dedicated to his training than ever before. He won 13 straight bouts, 11 of them world title fights, and became the first undisputed super lightweight champion in over three decades. At his very best, “The Thunder From Down Under” was recognized as the one of the top-three pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
Among Tszyu’s victims were Rafael Ruelas (TKO 9), Diosbelys Hurtado (TKO 5), Miguel Angel Gonzalez (TKO 10), Julio Cesar Chavez (TKO 6), Sharmba Mitchell (TKO 7/ TKO 3), and Zab Judah (TKO 2).
Already rubberstamped as one of the best super lightweight champions in boxing history, a 35-year-old Tszyu ventured to Manchester, England, to make a title defence against local hero Ricky Hatton in June 2005. “The Hitman” was never better and claimed IBF and Ring championships with a hard-fought 11th-round stoppage.
Having crossed every “t” and dotted every “i,” a fully satisfied Tszyu retired and waited for his inevitable Hall of Fame calling.
Is Kostya Tszyu in the boxing hall of fame?
Not surprisingly, in 2011, the great ex-champ was a first-ballot entry in Canastota. An emotional Tszyu was celebrated alongside fellow inductees Mike Tyson and former opponent Chavez. “Now, this ring – let me put it on – is special,” said Tszyu of his Hall of Fame jewelry. “This is special, not only for me, of course, it will be on my hand for some time until my kids grow up.
“Everything we do in life is for our kids. I really hope – I’ve got my two boys here – that they’re listening – that life is not easy and I don’t want your life to be easy. I want your life to be difficult and when you achieve it in the end, you’re going to say ‘thank you’ that it’s not that easy. And I hope that one day, in like 30 years, you’re going to invite me to this event as inductees and I’m going to be proudly sitting here watching you inducted like me.”
MORE: Tony Harrison gives Tim Tszyu a reality check, mocks opponent’s resume
We’re just over a decade on from the father’s induction into the Hall of Fame, and his words may one day prove to be prophetic. Tim Tszyu is undefeated and on course for a world title shot against undisputed champion Jermell Charlo in 2023.
Only Tony Harrison stands menacingly in his way.
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