Konstantin Borisovich "Kostya" Tszyu (/ˈkɒstə ˈz/; Russian: Константин Борисович «Костя» Цзю, IPA: [kənstɐnʲˈtʲin bɐˈrisəvʲɪtɕ ˈkosʲtʲə ˈdzːʲu]; born 19 September 1969) is a Russian-Australian former professional boxer who competed from 1992 to 2005. He held multiple world championships in the light-welterweight division, including the undisputed and lineal titles between 2001 and 2005. Tszyu was an exceptional all-around boxer-puncher who relied heavily on accuracy, timing, and carried formidable punching power; he is often regarded as one of the hardest-punching light-welterweights in the division's history.[2]

Kostya Tszyu
Костя Цзю
Tszyu in 2008
Konstantin Borisovich Tszyu

(1969-09-19) 19 September 1969 (age 54)
  • Australian (since 1993)
  • Soviet (until 1991)
Other namesThunder from Down Under
Height5 ft 7 in (170 cm)[1]
Reach67 in (170 cm)[1]
Boxing record
Total fights34
Wins by KO25
No contests1
Medal record
Men's amateur boxing
Representing  Soviet Union
Goodwill Games
Gold medal – first place 1990 Seattle Light-welterweight
World Championships
Bronze medal – third place 1989 Moscow Lightweight
Gold medal – first place 1991 Sydney Light-welterweight
Junior World Championships
Silver medal – second place 1987 Havana Lightweight
European Championships
Gold medal – first place 1989 Athens Lightweight
Gold medal – first place 1991 Gothenburg Light-welterweight

As an amateur, Tszyu represented the Soviet Union, winning a bronze medal in the lightweight division at the 1989 World Championships, and gold in the light-welterweight division at the 1991 World Championships. He also won consecutive gold medals at the 1989 and 1991 European Championships.

In 1995, Tszyu won his first of many professional world championships at light-welterweight—the International Boxing Federation (IBF) title—by defeating Jake Rodríguez. Five successful defences were made until an upset loss to Vince Phillips in 1997, which was Tszyu's first professional defeat. He would spend the next eight years undefeated, winning the vacant World Boxing Council (WBC) title in 1999 and the World Boxing Association (WBA) (Super version) title in 2001. Tszyu scored arguably his most famous win that year, when he knocked out Zab Judah to reclaim the IBF title, as well as the vacant Ring magazine and lineal titles, thus becoming the first undisputed light-welterweight champion in over 30 years. In 2005, in what would be his final fight, Tszyu was stopped by Ricky Hatton.

Tszyu is considered by many in Australia to be a national sports hero.[3] In The Ring's March 2010 issue, Tszyu was ranked as the number one light-welterweight of the 2000s decade. In December 2010, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame for the Class of 2011. From 2012 to 2013 he coached professional boxers Alexander Povetkin, Denis Lebedev and Khabib Allakhverdiev.[4] In 2023, his son Tim Tszyu won the World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior-middleweight title.

Early life edit

Tszyu was born in Serov, a town near the Ural Mountains, in the former Soviet Union to a Korean (paternal)–Mongol (maternal) father and a Russian mother. Tszyu's father was a fitter in a metal factory, whereas his mother was a nurse.[5]

Amateur career edit

As a child, Kostya was hyperactive, so his father decided to take him to a boxing gym, where he would channel that energy by fighting older boys.[6] He impressed the Soviet amateur team coaches and he was sent to the Soviet Union's amateur boxing travelling training camps, where he visited more than 30 countries while training and fighting in tournaments. He trained with that group 250 days a year, and won various tournaments, such as amateur boxing's world championships. At the Cuban world championship tournament in 1987, he came in second place, and at the 1988 Summer Olympics, he lost in the third round.[7]

Tszyu was a member of the Soviet Army, but since he was selected as an elite athlete, he was not required to serve the ordinary duty. He fought at the world championships once again, in Moscow in 1989, where he came in third place.

In 1991, he went again to the amateur world championships, this time held in Sydney. This was a trip that would change his life forever. Not only was the third time his charm, but he felt enchanted with the sights of Sydney and its people, and decided he wanted to live in Australia. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, early the next year, Tszyu emigrated to Australia with his girlfriend, where they married in 1993 and became Australian citizens, settling in Sans Souci, Sydney. Before marrying her, though, Tszyu had already turned professional, beating Darrell Hiles by a knockout in one round on 1 March 1992, at Melbourne.

Highlights edit

1992 Olympics edit

He was the only Soviet boxer to win a gold medal at the 1991 World Championships in Sydney. Immediately at the Championships he was approached by local boxing promoters, deciding to pass up the 1992 Summer Olympics in favor of a professional career. A week later he signed with Australian promoter Bill Mordey as his manager and Johnny Lewis as his trainer in Sydney. Tszyu finished his amateur career with 270 fights, 259 wins, 11 losses, no stoppages and no draws. His professional debut was scheduled to take place in January 1992. Mordey described Tszyu as the best boxer he had seen in the past decade.[8]

Professional career edit

Tszyu started raising his quality of opposition almost immediately. In his fourth professional bout, he met the former WBC Featherweight Champion Juan Laporte, decisioning him over ten rounds. In his sixth bout, he beat contender Sammy Fuentes by a knockout in the first. Fuentes would go on to win a world title years after being handily beaten by Tszyu in 1993, Steve Larrimore, Larry La Crousiere and Robert Rivera, went to Australia to fight Tszyu, and none lasted more than two rounds. The only man to last more than two rounds with Tszyu in 1993 was Livingstone Bramble, a former World Lightweight Champion, who lost by decision to Tszyu at Newcastle, New South Wales.

In 1994, Héctor López, Angel Hernandez (who had just come off of a loss after challenging Julio César Chávez for the WBC belt), and Pedro Chinito Sanchez from the Dominican Republic tried to beat Tszyu, but Tszyu beat Lopez by a decision in ten, Hernandez by a knockout in seven, and Sanchez by a knockout in four. After the win against Sanchez, Tszyu was ranked number one in the light welterweight division.

WBC light-welterweight champion edit

In 1995, he received his first world title shot when he fought IBF Light Welterweight Champion Jake Rodríguez at Las Vegas, Nevada. Tszyu became world champion by knocking Rodriguez out in the sixth round. He then defended the world title, beating former Super Featherweight and Light Welterweight World Champion Roger Mayweather by a decision in 12, Hugo Pineda by a knockout in 11, Cory Johnson by a knockout in four and Jan Bergman by a knockout in six. After this string of defences, Tszyu became a highly touted world Champion by many boxing magazines, and many articles about him appeared on The Ring, KO Magazine and other American boxing publications.

Title defences edit

Tsyzu began 1997 with a title defense against Leonardo Moro Mas. Tsyzu knocked Mas down three times in the first round. Including a blow shortly before the bell. In a controversial decision, referee Joe Cortez judged that it was an "unintentional illegal blow", believing it to be shortly after the bell. As Mas was either unable or unwilling to continue, Cortez called the bout a technical draw. The IBF and the Nevada Athletic Commission later declared it a no-contest.[9] In his next fight he would suffer his first loss, a 10th round knockout to Vince Phillips, who would claim the world title.

After beating former world champions Calvin Grove (KO 1) and Rafael Ruelas (KO 9), Tszyu was given another world title try, when the WBC's belt became vacant in 1998 following Oscar De La Hoya's move to the welterweight division. Tszyu found himself twice on the canvas in round one of his fight for the interim belt against Diosbelys Hurtado, but recuperated to beat Hurtado by a knockout in five. He became world champion once again in 1999 by knocking out former world champion Miguel Ángel González in ten, and twice retained it in 2000, beating Arizona's fringe contender Ahmed Santos in eight, and a 38-year-old Mexican legend Julio César Chávez, the former world champion, in six at Phoenix, Arizona. Kostya was interviewed by Ray Wheatley on YouTube in 2011 and stated he regards his win over Miguel Angel Gonzalez as his best ever performance.

Undisputed light-welterweight champion edit

Tszyu then began pursuing his wish to unify all the belts. In 2001, he began by facing WBA Champion Sharmba Mitchell, taking the belt by a TKO after seven rounds (Mitchell suffered a knee injury in training, and during the bout). His next fight was against the German Turk, Oktay Urkal. Tszyu finished 2001 by recovering his IBF belt in a unification bout with the current champion Zab Judah, by a knockout in the second round. A small melee inside the ring followed that fight when Judah attacked referee Jay Nady for what he felt was a premature stoppage, reacting by throwing his corner's seat at the referee and even trying to choke Nady with his glove at one point. However, replays clearly show Judah walking on wobbly legs. As a result, Tszyu became the first man in 30 years to unify the belts in the light welterweight division.

Tszyu in 2002 had only one bout, beating the top-ranked contender of all three of his belts, Ben Tackie of Ghana by a decision in twelve rounds. Tszyu lost only one round on only one of the judges scorecards in a masterful display of boxing.

On 19 January 2003, Tszyu began the year by retaining his title against former world champion Jesse James Leija by a knockout in six. After the fight, held in Melbourne, Tszyu announced that fight could be his last in Australia, due to pressure from promoters to fight in the United States (The win against Leija came on the birthday of Tszyu's son.).

Tszyu vs. Mitchell II edit

His first fight in 2004 was supposed to have been held on 7 February in a rematch against Sharmba Mitchell. It would have been Tszyu's first fight as a professional in Moscow, but Tszyu injured his shoulder during training. He had successful surgery to correct the problem, but the injury further extended his absence from the ring. The WBA stripped Tszyu of his title for choosing to fight Mitchell instead of their regular champion, Vivian Harris, while the WBC stripped Tszyu for refusing to fight their mandatory, Gianluca Branco.[10][11]

On 6 November, he and Mitchell finally had their rematch, with Tszyu knocking Mitchell out once again, this time in three rounds. Tszyu was voted comeback fighter of the year by Ring magazine.

Dethroned by Hatton edit

He next fought on 5 June 2005, against British boxer Ricky Hatton, Tszyu lost this fight and his world title by RTD (Referee technical decision) after retiring on his stool at the end of the 11th round. He was also behind on all three cards (by 1, 3 and 5 points).

Potential comeback edit

On 30 January 2007 rumours spread of a Tszyu comeback. However, there was no confirmation. In April 2010, rumours about a possible comeback of Tszyu spread again.[12] He continued to train and stayed in shape since his 2005 loss to Ricky Hatton. On 19 April 2010, Tszyu appeared on Long Lunch Today, an Australian TV program. During the show, he denied his retirement and said he would return if a fight with Shane Mosley, Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. could be made.[13]

Personal life edit

Kostya and Natasha Tszyu, 2007

Tszyu married Natasha Anikina on 24 September 1993.[14] He has three children; Anastasia, Nikita and Tim. Nikita and Tim are both boxers.[15] Tszyu initially moved with his family to Moscow in 2008, but they returned to Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.[16] In September 2012, Tszyu left his family in Australia while he moved full-time to live in Russia.[17] Tszyu is now married to Tatiana Averina, with whom he has two children, and runs a restaurant in Moscow.[18]

Tszyu is an animal lover who owns several pets including Viking, a rottweiler who has been Tszyu's companion since he arrived in Australia; Jake, his pet diamond python; canaries and fish. Tszyu appeared with the animals on the pet show Harry's Practice in 2002.

Legal disputes edit

Tszyu has been in several court battles with his managers. Most recently, his ex-manager Susie Bennell took him to court, alleging Tszyu owed her money. Tszyu was also ordered to repay $3.5 million to his former manager Bill Mordey in an unrelated civil suit.[19] In journalist Paul Kent's biography of long time trainer Johnny Lewis, allegations were made that Tszyu had underpaid Lewis for his services. The dispute was settled out of court.

Professional boxing record edit

34 fights 31 wins 2 losses
By knockout 25 2
By decision 6 0
No contests 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
34 Loss 31–2 (1) Ricky Hatton RTD 11 (12), 3:00 4 Jun 2005 MEN Arena, Manchester, England Lost IBF and The Ring light-welterweight titles
33 Win 31–1 (1) Sharmba Mitchell TKO 3 (12), 2:48 6 Nov 2004 Glendale Arena, Phoenix, Arizona, US Retained IBF and The Ring light-welterweight titles
32 Win 30–1 (1) Jesse James Leija RTD 6 (12), 3:00 19 Jan 2003 Telstra Dome, Melbourne, Australia Retained WBA (Unified), WBC, IBF, and The Ring light-welterweight titles
31 Win 29–1 (1) Ben Tackie UD 12 18 May 2002 Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained WBA (Super), WBC, IBF, and The Ring light-welterweight titles
30 Win 28–1 (1) Zab Judah TKO 2 (12), 2:59 3 Nov 2001 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained WBA (Super) and WBC light-welterweight titles;
Won IBF and vacant The Ring light-welterweight titles
29 Win 27–1 (1) Oktay Urkal UD 12 23 Jun 2001 Mohegan Sun Arena, Montville, Connecticut, US Retained WBA (Super) and WBC light-welterweight titles
28 Win 26–1 (1) Sharmba Mitchell RTD 7 (12), 3:00 3 Feb 2001 Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained WBC light-welterweight title;
Won WBA (Super) light-welterweight title
27 Win 25–1 (1) Julio César Chávez TKO 6 (12), 1:28 29 Jul 2000 Veteran's Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona, US Retained WBC light-welterweight title
26 Win 24–1 (1) Ahmed Santos TKO 8 (12), 0:36 12 Feb 2000 Mohegan Sun Arena, Montville, Connecticut, US Retained WBC light-welterweight title
25 Win 23–1 (1) Miguel Angel Gonzalez TKO 10 (12), 0:48 21 Aug 1999 Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, Miami, Florida, US Won vacant WBC light-welterweight title
24 Win 22–1 (1) Diosbelys Hurtado TKO 5 (12), 2:35 28 Nov 1998 Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California, US Won WBC interim light-welterweight title
23 Win 21–1 (1) Rafael Ruelas TKO 9 (12), 0:21 15 Aug 1998 County Coliseum, El Paso, Texas, US
22 Win 20–1 (1) Calvin Grove KO 1 (10), 2:59 5 Apr 1998 Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia
21 Win 19–1 (1) Ismael Armando Chaves TKO 3 (12), 2:20 6 Dec 1997 Stockland Stadium, Townsville, Australia
20 Loss 18–1 (1) Vince Phillips TKO 10 (12), 1:22 31 May 1997 Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US Lost IBF light-welterweight title
19 NC 18–0 (1) Leonardo Mas TD 1 (12), 3:00 18 Jan 1997 Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, US IBF light-welterweight title at stake;
Originally a TD after Mas sustained a fractured jaw from an accidental foul, later ruled an NC
18 Win 18–0 Jan Piet Bergman KO 6 (12), 1:23 14 Sep 1996 Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia Retained IBF light-welterweight title
17 Win 17–0 Corey Johnson KO 4 (12), 1:21 24 May 1996 Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia Retained IBF light-welterweight title
16 Win 16–0 Hugo Pineda TKO 11 (12), 2:38 20 Jan 1996 Parramatta Stadium, Sydney, Australia Retained IBF light-welterweight title
15 Win 15–0 Roger Mayweather UD 12 25 Jun 1995 Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia Retained IBF light-welterweight title
14 Win 14–0 Jake Rodríguez TKO 6 (12), 1:50 28 Jan 1995 MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, US Won IBF light-welterweight title
13 Win 13–0 Pedro Sanchez TKO 4 (10) 29 Aug 1994 Flinders Park, Melbourne, Australia
12 Win 12–0 Angel Hernandez RTD 7 (10), 3:00 2 May 1994 Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia
11 Win 11–0 Hector Lopez UD 10 11 Jan 1994 Hyatt Regency, Tampa, Florida, US
10 Win 10–0 Livingstone Bramble UD 10 23 Aug 1993 Newcastle, Australia
9 Win 9–0 Robert Rivera KO 1 (10), 1:27 18 Jun 1993 Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia
8 Win 8–0 Larry LaCoursiere TKO 1 (10) 14 May 1993 Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia
7 Win 7–0 Steve Larrimore TKO 2 (10), 1:56 30 Jan 1993 The Pyramid, Memphis, Tennessee, US
6 Win 6–0 Sammy Fuentes TKO 1 (10), 0:54 13 Nov 1992 Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia
5 Win 5–0 Daniel Ricardo Cusato TKO 7 (10) 11 Sep 1992 Sydney, Australia
4 Win 4–0 Juan Laporte UD 10 23 Jul 1992 Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney, Australia
3 Win 3–0 Tony Jones TKO 2 (10), 0:15 7 May 1992 Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney, Australia
2 Win 2–0 Nedrick Simmons KO 1 (8), 1:58 2 Apr 1992 Sydney, Australia
1 Win 1–0 Darrell Hiles TKO 1 (8), 1:10 1 Mar 1992 Princes Park, Melbourne, Australia

Video albums edit

Title Details Certification
  • Released: 2002

References edit

  1. ^ a b Showtime Championship Boxing tale of the tape prior to the Ricky Hatton fight.
  2. ^ Ricky Hatton recalls Kostya Tszyu battle 10 years later – Ring TV. Ringtv.craveonline.com (2015-06-03). Retrieved on 2016-06-03.
  3. ^ Ricky Hatton vs. Kostya Tszyu. Victoria Warehouse (2015-06-09). Retrieved on 2016-06-03.
  4. ^ Костя Дзю начнет работать с Александром Поветкиным Archived 3 July 2015 at the Wayback Machine. 46tv.ru (5 June 2013)
  5. ^ ЦЗЮ (in Russian). RODSTVO.RU (Russian Genealogical Tree). Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2004.
  6. ^ Tszyu, Kostya; Malcolm Andrews (2005). Kostya: My Story. Bond University Press. ISBN 0-7333-1592-5.
  7. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Kostya Tszyu". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on 18 April 2020.
  8. ^ Boxing: Tszyu to Australia. The New York Times, 29 November 1991, p. 12.
  9. ^ "On This Day: Oscar De La Hoya tops star-studded bill with support from Kostya Tszyu and Floyd Mayweather". Boxing News Online. 18 January 2019. Retrieved 23 January 2024.
  10. ^ "Tszyu stripped of WBA title". The Sydney Morning Herald. 16 June 2004. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  11. ^ "Tszyu doesn't care for Mitchell's tactics". The Age. 6 November 2004. Retrieved 23 December 2021.
  12. ^ Vester, Mark (20 April 2010). "Kostya Tszyu Talks Ring Return, Darchinyan, More". BoxingScene.com.
  13. ^ Vester, Mark (21 April 2010). "Tszyu Delusional, Would Return For Pacquiao, Mayweather". BoxingScene.com.
  14. ^ Tszyu, Kostya; Malcolm Andrews (2005). Kostya: My Story. Bond University Press. p. 115. ISBN 0-7333-1592-5.
  15. ^ "Like father, like sons: Tim and Nikita Tszyu to chase boxing dream". 11 July 2016.
  16. ^ Tiernan, Eamonn (26 August 2020). "'We argued a lot': The bitter reason Kostya Tszyu won't attend his son's mega fight". 7NEWS. Retrieved 1 February 2022.
  17. ^ Tszyu leaves Australia. Fightbeat.com. Retrieved on 2016-06-03.
  18. ^ "Why Kostya Tszyu won't be ringside for Tim Tszyu-Dennis Hogan fight". 30 March 2021.
  19. ^ Tszyu's cash fight. ninemsn.com.au (16 March 2007)
  20. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2002 DVDs" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 18 December 2021.

External links edit

Sporting positions
World boxing titles
Preceded by IBF light-welterweight champion
28 January 1995 – 31 May 1997
Succeeded by
New title WBC light-welterweight champion
Interim title

28 November 1998 – 21 August 1999
Won full title
Title next held by
Lucas Matthysse
Title last held by
Oscar De La Hoya
WBC light-welterweight champion
21 August 1999 – 9 October 2003
Title next held by
Arturo Gatti
New title
Unified against Sharmba Mitchell
WBA light-welterweight champion
Super title

3 February 2001 – 16 June 2004
Status changed to Unified champion from August 5, 2002
Status changed to Undisputed champion from July 2003
Title next held by
Ricky Hatton
Preceded by IBF light welterweight champion
3 November 2001 – 4 June 2005
Succeeded by
Ricky Hatton
Title last held by
Aaron Pryor
The Ring light-welterweight champion
3 November 2001 – 4 June 2005
Title last held by
Takeshi Fuji
Undisputed light-welterweight champion
3 November 2001 – 9 October 2003
Titles fragmented
Title next held by
Terence Crawford
Vince Phillips
The Ring Comeback of the Year
Michael Carbajal