TIM Tszyu was always destined to take part in the family business.
At the ripe young age of 22, the eldest son of legendary Hall of Famer and former lineal light welterweight ruler Kostya Tszyu, has ditched the amateur trade in order to pursue a promising career in the paid ranks.
For obvious reasons, Tszyu is in the midst of a firm transitional phase as he continues to grow into his own. Having had a minor apprenticeship in the amateurs, Tszyu admits that being a professional is still a foreign feeling. And as he freely discusses, this is a good thing.
“It’s been a completely different experience,” said Tszyu to Aus-Boxing. “The feeling of the gloves, the atmosphere, the pressure; it’s just been a thrill. I’m certainly enjoying it a lot more than the amateurs. I feel the more pressure you have, the more likely you are to perform well.”
“It’s a sport that I fell in love with from such a young age. I think it was when I was four years old; I dislocated my grandfather’s jaw.”
“Basically, I grew up with boxing and I’ve seen the whole side of it. Not just experiencing it as a fan and watching it on television, but being involved in the training, preparation and real life pain that goes with the sport. That’s what made me fall in love with it.”
Tszyu (now 2-0, 1 KO) isn’t resting on his laurels, having had two fights in the space of four months since turning professional last December, with a further three bouts already signed before the end of May. Tszyu believes that staying active is imperative for his development.
“I’m trying to get as many fights as I can and gain experience. The more fights I have, the better.” he explained. “I only had 25 amateur fights. I think I need to get in as many fights as I can so I can be ready for anything in the future.”
“The next two years will be about getting in as many fights as I can. I’m focusing on getting the fundamentals right for the future.”
“The main goal for me will be improving in each fight I have. I hope to learn from my mistakes, I know I’m not going to have a perfect performance each time I go out there, but victory is always on my mind.”
“I have never thought of having a loss. But after each fight, I need to get straight back into training and get better and better each time.”
Despite the obvious pressures that accompany such an iconic last name, Tszyu speaks of his father’s accomplishments with great pride. And with that in mind, he is eager to step out from the shadow of his family name in order to create a legacy for himself.
“I think it’s a good thing, it’s an advantage for me to carry such a famous last name in the sport,” he concluded. “But then again, it can be a disadvantage because I have to step away from my fathers legacy. For most boxers in Australia, they are creating their own name.”
“Sometimes I feel it is better to create your own name, but for me – because I carry the name Tszyu – I have to live up to it. I don’t have to create my own name in the sport, but I do have to drift away from it and make my own path instead of coming from what my dad achieved.”
While the majority of the viewing audience expect Tszyu to continue his steady ascension, his upset-minded opponent Ben Nelson (2-2) has other ideas. The rugged Kiwi, who has never been stopped in four professional outings, is aiming to spoil Tszyu’s plans.
“I’m not going to say he doesn’t have any skills, he has skills for sure,” said a confident Nelson. “He is a pita patter puncher. I’ve been in there with guys a lot heavier and I’ve never been dropped in my career. I’ve never been dropped in a boxing match in my life.”
“The weight suits me. I’ve fought as high as super middleweight and as big as cruiserweight, so the guys down at middleweight don’t affect me. So if he is going to try to outbox me we’ll see what happens. But I’ve got some skills too and I’m coming there to beat him.”
Photo: Morne de Klerk/Getty Images
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