Kostya Tszyu

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Kostya Tszyu
Костя Цзю
Kostya Tszyu 2008.jpg
Tszyu in 2008
Real name Konstantin Borisovich Tszyu
Nickname(s) Thunder from Down Under
Rated at Light welterweight
Height 1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Reach 170 cm (67 in)
  • Russian
  • Australian
Born (1969-09-19) 19 September 1969 (age 47)
Serov, Russian SFSR,
Soviet Union (now Russia)
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 34
Wins 31
Wins by KO 25
Losses 2
No contests 1

Konstantin Borisovich "Kostya" Tszyu (/ˈkɒstə ˈz/; Russian: Константин Борисович "Костя" Цзю; born 19 September 1969) is a Russian-Australian former professional boxer who competed from 1992 to 2005. He is a two-time light welterweight world champion, having also held the undisputed and lineal titles of that division from 2001 to 2003. Tszyu was an exceptional all-around boxer-puncher who relied heavily on accuracy and timing, and carried formidable punching power; he is often regarded as one of the hardest-punching light welterweights in the division's history.[1]

As an amateur, Tszyu represented the Soviet Union, winning a gold medal in the light welterweight division at the 1991 World Championships, and bronze in the lightweight division at the 1989 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 IBF title—by defeating Jake Rodríguez. Five successful defences 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 WBC title in 1999 and the WBA (Super) 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 to 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.[2] 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.[3]

Early years[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.[4]

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.[5] 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.[6]

Tszyu was a member of the Soviet military too, but since he was selected as an elite athlete, he was not required to participate in combat. 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 Rockdale, 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.

Amateur career[edit]

Tszyu compiled an amateur record of 260–10.

Amateur highlights[edit]

  • Junior European Featherweight Champion 1986 in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 2nd place at the Junior World Championships 1987 in Havanna, Cuba as a Lightweight. Results were:
    • Defeated D. Boyev (Bulgaria) RSC-3
    • Defeated Eduardo Rivas (Panama) KO-2
  • Represented the Soviet Union as a Lightweight at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. Results were:
  • Won the 1989 European Championships in Athens, Greece. Results were:
  • competed at the World Championships 1989 in Moscow, Soviet Union. Results were:
    • Defeated Mark Ramsey (Great Britain) 22–3
    • Defeated Bo Espensen (Denmark) RSCH-3
  • Won gold medal for the Soviet Union at 63.5 kg at the 1990 Goodwill Games
    • Drew Bye in first round
    • Defeated (USA) Terron Millett 5–0
    • Defeated (USSR) Aleksandr Banin 5–0
  • Won the 1991 European Championships in Göteborg, Sweden. Results were:
    • Defeated Jim Pender (Great Britain) PTS
    • Defeated Andreas Zülow (Germany) PTS
  • Won gold medal for the Soviet Union at Light Welterweight in the 1991 World Championships in Sydney, Australia.

Professional career[edit]

Light Welterweight[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.

First title[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]

1997 began for Tszyu when his defense against Leonardo Moro Mas was declared a no contest because Mas' camp protested that the blow that finished their fighter in the first round was actually thrown after referee Joe Cortez had called for a break. Undecided whether it was or was not after Cortez called for a break, the IBF and the Nevada Athletic Commission decided to declare it a no contest instead. For his next bout, however, Tszyu wasn't as lucky, and he lost for the first time, losing by a knockout in ten rounds to Vince Phillips, who also took with that, Tzsyu's world championship.

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.

Unifying the belts[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.).

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. 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. The bout which was aired on American cable giant, Showtime, actually made the end of year highlight reel on rival cable provider, HBO. This was unprecedented.

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.

On April 2010, rumors about a possible comeback of Tszyu spread again.[7] He still continues to train and stays in shape since his 2005 loss to Ricky Hatton. On 19 April 2010, Tszyu appeared on Long Lunch Today, an Australian TV program, and 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.[8]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
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) United Kingdom Ricky Hatton RTD 11 (12), 3:00 4 Jun 2005 United Kingdom MEN Arena, Manchester, England Lost IBF, The Ring, and lineal light welterweight titles
33 Win 31–1 (1) United States Sharmba Mitchell TKO 3 (12), 2:48 6 Nov 2004 United States Glendale Arena, Phoenix, Arizona, US Retained IBF, The Ring, and lineal light welterweight titles
32 Win 30–1 (1) United States Jesse James Leija RTD 6 (12), 3:00 19 Jan 2003 Australia Telstra Dome, Melbourne, Australia Retained WBC, The Ring, and lineal light welterweight titles
31 Win 29–1 (1) Ghana Ben Tackie UD 12 18 May 2002 United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained WBA (Super), WBC, The Ring, and lineal light welterweight titles
30 Win 28–1 (1) United States Zab Judah TKO 2 (12), 2:59 3 Nov 2001 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained WBA (Super) and WBC light welterweight titles;
Won IBF, vacant The Ring and lineal light welterweight titles
29 Win 27–1 (1) Germany Oktay Urkal UD 12 23 Jun 2001 United States Mohegan Sun Arena, Montville, Connecticut, US Retained WBA (Super) and WBC light welterweight titles
28 Win 26–1 (1) United States Sharmba Mitchell RTD 7 (12), 3:00 3 Feb 2001 United States Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained WBC light welterweight title;
Won WBA (Super) light welterweight title
27 Win 25–1 (1) Mexico Julio César Chávez TKO 6 (12), 1:28 29 Jul 2000 United States Veteran's Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona, US Retained WBC light welterweight title
26 Win 24–1 (1) Mexico Ahmed Santos TKO 8 (12), 0:36 12 Feb 2000 United States Mohegan Sun Arena, Montville, Connecticut, US Retained WBC light welterweight title
25 Win 23–1 (1) Mexico Miguel Angel Gonzalez TKO 10 (12), 0:48 21 Aug 1999 United States Miccosukee Resort and Gaming, Miami, Florida, US Won vacant WBC light welterweight title
24 Win 22–1 (1) Cuba Diosbelys Hurtado TKO 5 (12), 2:35 28 Nov 1998 United States Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California, US Won WBC interim light welterweight title
23 Win 21–1 (1) United States Rafael Ruelas TKO 9 (12), 0:21 15 Aug 1998 United States County Coliseum, El Paso, Texas, US
22 Win 20–1 (1) United States Calvin Grove KO 1 (10), 2:59 5 Apr 1998 Australia Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia
21 Win 19–1 (1) Argentina Ismael Armando Chaves TKO 3 (12), 2:20 6 Dec 1997 Australia Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia
20 Loss 18–1 (1) United States Vince Phillips TKO 10 (12), 1:22 31 May 1997 United States Etess Arena, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US Lost IBF light welterweight title
19 NC 18–0 (1) Puerto Rico Leonardo Mas TD 1 (12), 3:00 18 Jan 1997 United States Thomas & Mack Center, Paradise, Nevada, US Retained IBF light welterweight title;
Originally a TD after Mas sustained a fractured jaw from an accidental foul, later ruled an NC
18 Win 18–0 South Africa Jan Piet Bergman KO 6 (12), 1:23 14 Sep 1996 Australia Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia Retained IBF light welterweight title
17 Win 17–0 United States Corey Johnson KO 4 (12), 1:21 24 May 1996 Australia Entertainment Centre, Sydney, Australia Retained IBF light welterweight title
16 Win 16–0 Colombia Hugo Pineda TKO 11 (12), 2:38 20 Jan 1996 Australia Parramatta Stadium, Sydney, Australia Retained IBF light welterweight title
15 Win 15–0 United States Roger Mayweather UD 12 25 Jun 1995 Australia Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia Retained IBF light welterweight title
14 Win 14–0 Puerto Rico Jake Rodríguez TKO 6 (12), 1:50 28 Jan 1995 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, US Won IBF light welterweight title
13 Win 13–0 Dominican Republic Pedro Sanchez TKO 4 (10) 29 Aug 1994 Australia Flinders Park, Melbourne, Australia
12 Win 12–0 Puerto Rico Angel Hernandez RTD 7 (10), 3:00 2 May 1994 Australia Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia
11 Win 11–0 Mexico Hector Lopez UD 10 11 Jan 1994 United States Hyatt Regency, Tampa, Florida, US
10 Win 10–0 Saint Kitts and Nevis Livingstone Bramble UD 10 23 Aug 1993 Australia Newcastle, Australia
9 Win 9–0 United States Robert Rivera KO 1 (10), 1:27 18 Jun 1993 Australia Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia
8 Win 8–0 United States Larry LaCoursiere TKO 1 (10) 14 May 1993 Australia Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, Australia
7 Win 7–0 The Bahamas Steve Larrimore TKO 2 (10), 1:56 30 Jan 1993 United States The Pyramid, Memphis, Tennessee, US
6 Win 6–0 Puerto Rico Sammy Fuentes TKO 1 (10), 0:54 13 Nov 1992 Australia Festival Hall, Melbourne, Australia
5 Win 5–0 Argentina Daniel Ricardo Cusato TKO 7 (10) 11 Sep 1992 Australia Sydney, Australia
4 Win 4–0 Puerto Rico Juan Laporte UD 10 23 Jul 1992 Australia Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney, Australia
3 Win 3–0 Australia Tony Jones TKO 2 (10), 0:15 7 May 1992 Australia Convention and Exhibition Centre, Sydney, Australia
2 Win 2–0 Guyana Nedrick Simmons KO 1 (8), 1:58 2 Apr 1992 Australia Sydney, Australia
1 Win 1–0 Australia Darrell Hiles TKO 1 (8), 1:10 1 Mar 1992 Australia Princes Park, Melbourne, Australia Professional debut

Titles in boxing[edit]

World titles
Preceded by
Jake Rodríguez
IBF light welterweight champion
28 January 1995 – 31 May 1997
Succeeded by
Vince Phillips
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 – January 2004
Title next held by
Arturo Gatti
Preceded by
Sharmba Mitchell
as champion
WBA light welterweight champion
Super title

3 February 2001 – 15 June 2004
Title next held by
Ricky Hatton
Preceded by
Zab Judah
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 – January 2004
Titles fragmented
Title last held by
Julio César Chávez
Lineal light welterweight champion
3 November 2001 – 4 June 2005
Succeeded by
Ricky Hatton

Personal life[edit]

Kostya and Natasha Tszyu

Tszyu married Natasha Anikina on 24 September 1993.[9] He has three children; Anastasia, Nikita and Tim. His family still reside in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. In September 2012, Tszyu reportedly left his family in Australia while he moved full-time to live in Russia.[10]

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]

Kostya has been in several court battles with his managers. Most recently, his ex-manager Susie Bennell took him to court, alleging Kostya owed her money. Tszyu was also ordered to repay $3.5 million to his former manager Bill Mordey in an unrelated civil suit.[11] In journalist Paul Kent's biography of long time trainer Johnny Lewis, allegations were made that Kostya had underpaid Lewis for his services. The dispute was settled out of court. Not long after the allegations were made, Kostya's personal website, which was utilised heavily by fans, was closed down. No reasons were given.


  1. ^ Ricky Hatton recalls Kostya Tszyu battle 10 years later – Ring TV. Ringtv.craveonline.com (2015-06-03). Retrieved on 2016-06-03.
  2. ^ Ricky Hatton vs. Kostya Tszyu. Victoria Warehouse (2015-06-09). Retrieved on 2016-06-03.
  3. ^ Костя Дзю начнет работать с Александром Поветкиным. 46tv.ru (5 June 2013)
  4. ^ ЦЗЮ (in Russian). RODSTVO.RU (Russian Genealogical Tree). Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 1 January 2004. 
  5. ^ Tszyu, Kostya; Malcolm Andrews. Kostya: My Story. Bond University Press. ISBN 0-7333-1592-5. 
  6. ^ Kostya Tszyu. sports-reference.com
  7. ^ Vester, Mark (20 April 2010). "Kostya Tszyu Talks Ring Return, Darchinyan, More". BoxingScene.com. 
  8. ^ Vester, Mark (21 April 2010). "Tszyu Delusional, Would Return For Pacquiao, Mayweather". BoxingScene.com. 
  9. ^ Tszyu, Kostya; Malcolm Andrews. Kostya: My Story. Bond University Press. p. 115. ISBN 0-7333-1592-5. 
  10. ^ Tszyu leaves Australia. Fightbeat.com. Retrieved on 2016-06-03.
  11. ^ Tszyu's cash fight. ninemsn.com.au (March 16, 2007)

External links[edit]