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Newz Forum: PFL:BOXING: Kostya Tszyu SportzNewz Boxing Profile

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posted on Apr, 4 2004 @ 01:56 PM
SportzNewz Takes an in depth Look at the Current Undisputed Super Lightweight Champion of the World, Kostya Tszyu.


At home, Kostya Tszyu speaks nothing but Russian. That is for the benefit of his two sons, Timophey and Nikita, and his recently born third child. Tszyu's intention is not to link his kids to the past, but rather to the future.

"Timophey and Nikita are both Australian by birth, so English is their natural language," Tszyu said. "I just want them, along with the baby, to grow up fluent in two languages. I think that will give them a great advantage in the future. The world is small and growing smaller."

Tszyu's own bright future resides in the United States, where the former Russian amateur star is one of only three undisputed world champions (joining Roy Jones Jr. and Bernard Hopkins) in boxing today.

"The Thunder From Down Under" became the first undisputed 140-pound world champion since Paul Fujii in 1968 when he knocked out previously unbeaten southpaw Zab Judah in the second round Nov. 3, 2001, on SHOWTIME to garner the International Boxing Federation (IBF) belt. Tszyu entered the triple unification bout in Las Vegas as the World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Association (WBA) champion.

"I am from Russia, but I am Australian now," Tszyu said. "I came here believing I could do this (win and then unify the 140-pound world titles), and I proved I could.''

The younger Judah, a 3-1 favorite in the classic boxer against puncher matchup, broke from the gate well and won the first round. Twice, the speedy Judah caught Tszyu off guard with uppercuts. Tszyu, however, scored with a tremendous right at the end of the round to turn things around.

While remaining poised and patient, Tszyu came out more aggressively in the second. He closed the gap and began to implement his game plan. Near the end of the round, Tszyu, who was doing enough to win the stanza, caught Judah with his hands down and landed a booming right hand. The perfectly placed punch put Judah on his back heels and moved him backward in perfect position for Tszyu to connect with an overhand right that put Judah down on the canvas.

A dazed, seemingly incoherent Judah got up fairly quickly, but then wobbled around and pitched forward, back and down to the mat. He was in the process of rising when referee Jay Nady stopped the fight without a count.

"This was my destiny,'' Tszyu said. "I am now a part of history. I am now on the pound-for-pound list. It never would have happened without hours and hours of preparation.''

Tszyu said he did not hit Judah with his best power shot. "It was good accuracy at exactly the right time.'' Regarding the stoppage, Tszyu said, "The referee did the right thing.

"People have to respect me now. Judah was a good fighter, a good thinker, but I knew I would be successful. This was my time. People may think that I proved something by winning, but I never felt I had to prove anything to anyone. It was just another challenge that I accepted and made the most of.''

In the first defense of his three titles, Tszyu won a lopsided 12-round decision over mandatory IBF challenger Ben Tackie on SHOWTIME May 18, 2002, in Las Vegas. Always respectful of the right hand, a patient Tszyu used Tackie for target practice and pitched a near shutout, winning a tactical bout impressively by the scores 120-108 twice and 119-109.

Tackie attempted to be the aggressor, but Tszyu counterpunched almost every time the game Ghanan scored and stopped his momentum.

"I would hit Tackie and he just kept coming forward," Tszyu said. "I was always aware of his right hand. "Tackie is a tough guy with a lot of heart. The key to this fight for me was patience.''

Although Tszyu's jab and counter punching were the best things going for him against Tackie, he sprinkled in the right amount of uppercuts and body shots to throw off the challenger.

Tackie came on strong in the late rounds, but could not catch or corner the surprisingly elusive Tszyu, who made the challenger miss with most of his punches and then countered with pot-shot crosses and left uppercuts.

For his opening contest of 2001, Tszyu added the WBA belt to his wardrobe when he defeated Sharmba Mitchell on a seventh-round TKO Feb. 3 on SHOWTIME from Las Vegas.

In a street fight that featured a lot of holding, clinching and wrestling, Tszyu was awarded the victory when the defending WBA champion retired after the seventh round due to a recurring left knee injury. There were no knockdowns in the competitive, entertaining bout. Both boxers landed early and often, but Tszyu sent Mitchell to the canvas four times. Tszyu, who hit the deck in the sixth after missing a right hand, lost a point after deliberately slamming Mitchell to the mat in the fourth.

The bout was close after four rounds. However, Tszyu, who was effective in his counter-punching, began to take command in the fifth when he caught Mitchell with combinations to the head and body. Mitchell finished the round cut over his right eye and bleeding from the nose.

"It was not a nice fight," said Tszyu, who was ahead on two scorecards (68-64 and 68-65) and even on the other (66-66) after seven rounds. "I give my performance a seven out of 10. My accuracy was not there. My punches were not sharp. I give Mitchell credit. He is a good fighter. He had fresh legs in the first few rounds. He rushed in and I had no choice but to put my hands on the back of his head and force him down to protect my face from head butts. He kept holding me. That is why I was just pushing him down. Mitchell was talking about the knee beforehand. Once you get in the ring, there are no excuses. You have to fight.''

Tszyu retired a boxing legend on July 29, 2000, in Phoenix, when he methodically destroyed six-time world champion Julio Cesar Chavez en route to a sixth-round TKO on SHOWTIME.

"Defeating a great champion like Chavez is one of the greatest victories of my career," Tszyu said after easily retaining his WBC title for a third time.

It did not take long for the sharp-punching Tszyu to impose his youth and strength on Chavez. Despite showing Chavez great respect, Tszyu dominated the action by the third round. In the fifth, he repeatedly knocked the fatigued, but valiant Chavez off balance with a barrage of 15 unanswered punches. A combination and a big right hand to the jaw dropped Chavez to his hands and knees in the sixth. Chavez made it to his feet, but the referee stopped the one-sided bout shortly thereafter.

Born and raised in Serov, an industrial city in Russia east of Moscow, Tszyu was introduced to boxing by his father. As the smallest and the youngest in the gym, it took quite a while for Tszyu to enjoy the sport.

"The first time I walked into a gym, I was six years old," Tszyu said, "but I was not really interested. Everyone else there was older. Three years later I went back. Now, everyone was the same age. Then it was more interesting. I was happy to be there. Of my first 100 fights, I won 99.''

By 15, Tszyu was part of the national training squad, earning more money in the Soviet "amateur'' system than his father, Boris, earned in the steel mills.

Tszyu traveled to Australia in 1991 and won a world championship at 139 pounds. While there, he fell in love with the country. With the Soviet Union breaking up, he elected to pass up the 1992 Olympics in order to settle Down Under and turn pro.

When Tszyu relocated to Australia, his girlfriend, Natasha, went with him. Soon after relocating, the two married. He had just turned 22, while she was a 19-year-old who had never left her parents' home. Neither could speak English.

In his pro debut on March 1, 1992, Tszyu scored a first-round knockout over Darrell Hiles in Melbourne. He captured his first world title in his 14th start by registering a sixth-round TKO over defending IBF 140-pound champion Jake Rodriguez on Jan. 28, 1995.

After capturing the IBF crown, Tszyu made five successful defenses from June 1995 until January 1997. During that span, the champion defeated Roger Mayweather (12-round decision); Hugo Pineda (11th-round TKO); Corey Johnson (fourth-round KO); Jan Bergman (sixth-round TKO), and fought to a first-round technical draw against Leonardo Mas.

The Mas match ended in a draw despite the fact that Tszyu floored his opponent three times in the first round. After getting hit on a break from Tszyu, Mas complained of a jaw injury and said he could not continue. The punch was ruled an unintentional foul, and the fight a first-round technical draw.

On May 31, 1997, in Atlantic City, Tszyu lost his IBF title to "Cool" Vince Phillips on a 10th-round TKO. Both boxers forgot to bring along their defense and slugged it out from the opening bell. Tszyu started well and rocked Phillips several times in the early rounds, but Phillips showed amazing recuperative powers and heart.

The more experienced Phillips changed the momentum in the fifth round and floored Tszyu in the seventh. Phillips rocked the defending champion several times in the ninth, buckled his knees and had Tszyu falling into the ropes in the 10th when the referee stopped the slugfest at 1:22.

The loss devastated Tszyu. For months, he was depressed and unable to focus on his future. Adding to his woes, he lost a multi-million dollar court settlement to a former promoter. "When I lost the Phillips fight it was a very difficult, hard time for me and my family," Tszyu said. "Now, I am much better, stronger and wiser for it. I did not fight well that night against Phillips, but I learned a very valuable lesson. Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom.'' After winning three consecutive bouts, including an impressive ninth-round TKO over former IBF lightweight champion Rafael Ruelas in a WBC title elimination bout on Aug. 15, 1998, in El Paso, Texas, Tszyu was scheduled to face former WBC lightweight champion Miguel Gonzalez for the vacant WBC 140-pound title on Oct. 24, 1998.

The bout with Gonzalez was postponed, however, until Nov. 28, 1998, because Tszyu's hands had not healed from the Ruelas rumble. The rescheduled fight never transpired, however, as Gonzalez was forced to withdraw after sustaining an injury during training.

Instead, Tszyu took on Diosbelys Hurtado for the WBC interim 140-pound title on Nov. 28, 1998, in Indio, Calif. In a thrilling affair, Tszyu decked Hurtado early in the initial session, but was knocked down twice before the round had ended. Tszyu pressed on and eventually won by fifth-round TKO. The referee stopped the bout at 2:35 following two additional knockdowns of Hurtado.

On Aug. 21, 1999, in Miami, Tszyu and Gonzalez finally met for the WBC 140-pound title on SHOWTIME. Tszyu dominated a "pick 'em" fight en route to a 10th-round TKO.

Tszyu had his way despite the repeated attempts by a desperate Gonzalez to commit low blows and other infractions. Gonzalez had a point deducted in the fourth round for throwing a shoulder. A relentless Tszyu continued to outclass his courageous, but outgunned opponent in the later rounds by moving forward and landing consistent combinations to the head. In the 10th, Gonzalez' trainer, Abel Sanchez, asked the referee to stop the fight with 48 seconds remaining in the stanza.

The newly crowned champion successfully defended his title and ran his knockout streak to six on Feb. 12, 2000, in Uncasville, Conn., by scoring an impressive eighth-round TKO over Ahmed Santos on SHOWTIME.

Tszyu pitched a virtual shutout by landing all of the heavy artillery, especially the right hand. Dominant throughout, Tszyu backed up the game Santos continually and finally dropped him twice in the eighth. The referee stopped the bout 36 seconds into the round following the second knockdown.

In the first defense of his WBC/WBA titles on June 23, 2001, Tszyu was more efficient than explosive while winning a unanimous 12-round decision over top-ranked and mandatory challenger Oktay Urkal on SHOWTIME from Uncasville, Conn.

"Urkal was a very game fighter with a big heart," said Tszyu, who won by the scores 116-112, 116-113 and 115-113. "I expected this fight to be tough and close, but not this close."

Since his tango with Tackie, Tszyu has been busy. In late 2002, he officially launched his written autobiography, "Kostya: My Story,'' which details the journey from his humble beginnings to the top of the boxing world.

"The book represents the first time that I have shown part of my personal life," Tszyu said. "I am sharing good and bad memories to show that everything that you do in life is for a purpose."

For his next challenge, Tszyu will defend his three world titles on SHOWTIME Jan. 18, 2003, in Melbourne against Jesse James Leija.

"It has been a dream of mine to defend my titles in Australia and give something back to my fans there," Tszyu said. "It is going to be a big event that people will remember for a long time."

Organizers expect the fight card to draw more than the Jeff Fenech against Azumah Nelson extravaganza in 1992 that featured Tszyu's pro debut on the undercard.

As for his future, Tszyu says, "I could go up to 154 pounds, but I cannot go to 135. I am very comfortable at 140 pounds."

In his spare time, Tszyu likes to read. His favorite boxers to watch "are the smart ones, like Ali, Ray Robinson, Ray Leonard, Pernell Whitaker, Roy Jones, Lennox Lewis and Chris Byrd.'' His musical tastes include "everything Russian and Pink Floyd.''

Profile - Boxrec
Sex: Male
Nationality: Australia
Alias: Thunder from Down Under
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Birthplace: Serov, Russia
Division: Light Welterweight
Date of Birth: 1969-09-19
Reach: 67"
Stance: Orthodox
Height: 5' 7
Trainer: Johnny Lewis
Manager: Matthew Watt

Kostya Tszyu Career Record

30 Wins, 1 Loss, 1 No Contest, 24 Knockouts

Mar. 1 -- Darrell Hiles, Melbourne, Australia, KO 1
Apr. 2 -- Nedrick Simmons, Sydney, Australia, KO 1
May 7 -- Tony Jones, Sydney, Australia, TKO 2
July 23 -- Juan LaPorte, Darling Harbour, Australia, W 10
Sept 11 -- Daniel Cusato, Sydney, Australia, TKO 7
Nov. 13 -- Sammy Fuentes, Melbourne, Australia, TKO 1

Jan. 30 -- Steve Larrimore, Memphis, Tennesse, KO 2
May. 14 -- Larry LaCoursierre, Newcastle, Australia, KO 1
Jun. 18 -- Robert Rivera, Newcastle, Australia, KO 1
Aug. 23 -- Livingstone Bramble, Newcastle, Australia, W 10

Jan. 11 -- Hector Lopez, Tampa, Florida, W 10
May 2 -- Angel Hernandez, Newcastle, Australia, TKO 7
Aug. 29 -- Pedro Sanchez, Melbourne, Australia, TKO 4

Jan. 28 -- Jake Rodriguez, Las Vegas, TKO 6
(Captured IBF junior welterweight title)
Jun. 25 -- Roger Mayweather, Newcastle, Australia, W 12
(Retained IBF junior welterweight title)

Jan. 20 -- Hugo Pineda, Sydney, Australia, TKO 11
(Retained IBF junior welterweight title)
May 24 -- Corey Johnson, Sydney, Australia, KO 4
(Retained IBF junior welterweight title)
Sept 14 -- Jan Bergman, Newcastle, Australia, TKO 6
(Retained IBF junior welterweight title)

Jan. 18 -- Leonardo Mas, Las Vegas, NC 1
(Retained IBF junior welterweight title)
May 31 -- Vincent Phillips, Atlantic City, New Jersey, TKO by 10
(Lost IBF junior welterweight title)
Dec. 6 -- Ismael Chavez, Australia, TKO 3

Apr. 5 -- Calvin Grove, Australia, TKO 1
Aug. 15 -- Rafael Ruelas, El Paso, Texas, TKO 9
Nov. 28 -- Diobelys Hurtado, Indio, California TKO 5
(Captured interim WBC super lightweight title)

Aug. 21 -- Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Miami, TKO 10
(Captured undisputed WBC super lightweight title)

Feb. 12 -- Ahmed Santos, Uncasville, Connecticut, TKO 8
(Retained WBC super lightweight title)
July 29 -- Julio Cesar Chavez, Phoenix, Arizona, TKO 6
(Retained WBC super lightweight title)

Feb. 3 -- Sharmba Mitchell, Las Vegas, Nevada, TKO 7
(Retained WBC super lightweight title)
(Captured WBA junior welterweight title)
June 23 -- Oktay Urkal, Uncasville, Connecticut, W 12
(Retained WBC and WBA junior welterweight titles)
November 2 -- Zab Judah, Las Vegas, Nevada, TKO 2
(Retained WBC and WBA junior welterweight titles)
(Captured IBF junior welterweight title)

May 18 -- Ben Tackie, Las Vegas, Nevada, W 12
(Retained WBA, WBC and IBF junior welterweight titles)

Jan 19 -- Jesse James Leija, Melbourne, Australia, TKO 6
(Retained WBA, WBC and IBF junior welterweight titles)

Career Highlights:
2-Time IBF World Light Welterweight Champion
WBA World Light Welterweight Champion
WBC World Super Lightweight Champion

[Edited on 4-4-2004 by Ocelot]

[Edited on 18-7-2004 by Ocelot]

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