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Australia’s Tim Tszyu has the Pedigree, but is he the Full Package?

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  • Australia’s Tim Tszyu has the Pedigree, but is he the Full Package?

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    By Arne K. Lang

    Tim Tszyu, a 24-year-old Australian who competes in the 154-pound weight class, has a long way to go to reach the heights of his famous father who set a very high bar. But by all indications Tszyu, who fights countryman Dwight Ritchie this coming Wednesday (Aug. 14) in Sydney, has the tools to go far.

    Tim’s father Kostya Tszyu, an Australian by way of Russian Siberia, was a comet coming out of the amateur ranks. He was sent in against former featherweight champion Juan LaPorte in just his fourth pro fight, wining a lopsided 10-round decision. Six fights later he defeated former world title-holder Livingstone Bramble and four fights after that he was a world champion. A junior welterweight, Kostya Tszyu was 14-2 with one no-decision in world title fights, earning a ticket to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. (For the record, in the no-decision he blew away Leonardo Paz in the opening round, scoring three knockdowns, but the final knockdown, which left Paz with an apparent broken jaw, was deemed an illegal punch.)

    Nowadays, it’s not unusual for a fighter with a decorated amateur background to move swiftly into a world title opportunity (think Vasiliy Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux) but in Kostya Tszyu’s day it was very rare except in the case of fighters in the very lowest weight classes. In this regard, Tim Tszyu is unlike his father. Currently 13-0 with 10 KOs, Tim been moved along gradually as one would expect considering his brief amateur career.

    Legendary Australian boxing trainer Johnny Lewis, who worked with the elder Tszyu and several other world champions, including Jeff Fenech, is among those that believe the younger Tszyu has a big upside. “He’s gifted,” Lewis told Australian journalist Duncan Huntsdale. “I see a kid who really wants it; he wants to do it under his conditions, he doesn’t need his dad’s name.”

    In his last start, in May of this year, Tszyu out-pointed Joel Camilleri in a bout billed for the Australian super welterweight title. Then it was off to the Philippines to spar with Manny Pacquiao in preparation for Pacquiao’s date with Keith Thurman.

    Tszyu’s opponent on Wednesday, Dwight Ritchie, resides in Shepparton, a good seven-hour drive from Sydney. Nicknamed the Fighting Cowboy, Ritchie is 19-1 but that’s somewhat misleading. He won his first four fights, but the national boxing commission (and BoxRec) changed them all to “no contest” when it was discovered that he was only 17 years old at the time that he fought them. The legal age for a pro boxer in Australia is 18.

    Looking at Ritchie’s record, one surmises that he’s unlikely to reverse the momentum of this fight with just one punch. He has scored only two knockouts. Nonetheless, Tszyu vs. Ritchie is a big deal in the Land Down Under, a pay-per-view event.

    Tim Tszyu has his immediate future mapped out. After defeating Dwight Ritchie (of that he has little doubt) he wants to stay in Australia for two more fights, taking on Melbourne’s Michael Zerafa and Brisbane’s Jeff Horn, in that order, and then spread his wings as he seeks to land a world title fight or, at the least, a title eliminator.

    That itinerary, needless to say, is subject to falling apart. Horn and Zerafa meet later this month in Bendigo and who knows where the winner will go from there? Moreover, if Tszyu fights either contestant he would likely have to move up in weight, although that shouldn’t be a problem as he began his pro career as a middleweight.

    Among his other attributes, Kostya Tszyu never lacked for confidence, the hallmark of every great champion. His son inherited that mindset and we will soon find out if he has the other essential ingredients to propel him into an international star.

    Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel

  • #2
    Good stuff AK47.

    You must have had 1 too many chardonnays as you pumped this beauty out . . . .

    Minor error; the 1997 NC was against Leonardo Mas.

    Still, good read.

    You know why.





    • #3
      Appreciate the correction Storm. Sometimes the editor needs an editor. FYI, was never into chardonnay. Lately I've become a fan of craft beer.


      • #4
        To tell you the truth . . .

        I was worried about that guess at chardonnay right from the start.