Kostya Tszyu

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Kostya Tszyu
Kostya Tszyu 2008.jpg
Real name Konstantin Borisovich Tszyu
Nickname(s) Thunder from Down Under
Rated at Light Welterweight
Height 5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Reach 67 in (170 cm)
Nationality Russia Russian
Australia Australian
Born (1969-09-19) 19 September 1969 (age 45)
Serov, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 34
Wins 31
Wins by KO 25
Losses 2
Draws 0
No contests 1

Konstantin Borisovich "Kostya" Tszyu (/ˈkɒstə ˈz/; Russian: Константин (Костя) Борисович Цзю; Korean: 주콘스탄틴; born 19 September 1969) is a retired Russian-Australian professional boxer of mixed Russian, Korean and Mongol descent.[1] His Russian-Korean name may appear cumbersome in English, though it is pronounced the same as the traditional anglophone spelling of the Christian first name and Korean surname: Constantine Tsu. His spelling is an overly literal legal letter-for-letter transcription of his native Cyrillic alphabet documents as issued by the Soviet Union, presumably retained because his international career began before his move to Australia. "Kostya" is simply the traditional short, informal Russian version of his first name. He holds both Russian and Australian citizenship and is a four-time world Light Welterweight Champion, including a period of time as the Undisputed Light Welterweight Champion.

Tszyu was the first champion to unify the light welterweight division in over 30 years.[citation needed] He is considered by many[according to whom?] in Australia to be a national sports hero. In Ring Magazine's March 2010 issue, Tszyu was ranked as the number one junior welterweight of the decade (2000's). On 7 December 2010, he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame for the Class of 2011.

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.

Because he was a hyperactive child[clarify],[citation needed] his father decided to take him to a boxing gym, where he would channel that energy by fighting older boys.[citation needed] He impressed Russia's 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. He also participated in the 1988 Olympic Games. At the Cuban world championship tournament in 1987, he came in second place, and at the Seoul Olympic games, he lost in the third round.

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. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, in 1992, 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 259-11.

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:
  • 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:
  • Won gold medal for the Soviet Union at 63.5 kg at the 1990 Goodwill Games
  • Won the 1991 European Championships in Göteborg, Sweden. Results were:
  • 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 onto 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.

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 become 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.

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[citation needed] 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.[2] 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.[3]

Professional record[edit]

31 Wins (25 knockouts, 6 decisions), 2 Losses (2 knockouts, 0 decisions), 0 Draws, 1 No Contest[4]
Res. Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 31–2
1 NC
United Kingdom Ricky Hatton RTD 11 (12) 2005-06-04 United Kingdom M.E.N. Arena, Manchester, United Kingdom Lost IBF & The Ring Light Welterweight title.
Win 31–1
1 NC
United States Sharmba Mitchell TKO 3 (12) 2004-11-06 United States Glendale Arena, Phoenix, Arizona, United States Retained IBF & The Ring Light Welterweight title.
Win 30–1
1 NC
United States Jesse James Leija TKO 6 (12) 2003-01-19 Australia Telstra Dome, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Retained WBC, WBA (Super), IBF & The Ring Light Welterweight titles.
Win 29–1
1 NC
Ghana Ben Tackie UD 12 2002-05-18 United States Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Retained WBC, WBA (Super), IBF & The Ring Light Welterweight titles.
Win 28–1
1 NC
United States Zab Judah TKO 2 (12) 2001-11-03 United States MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Retained WBC & WBA (Super) & won IBF & vacant The Ring Light Welterweight titles. Also became the Light Welterweight Undisputed Champion.
Win 27–1
1 NC
Germany Oktay Urkal UD 12 2001-06-23 United States Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, United States Retained WBC & WBA (Super) Light Welterweight titles.
Win 26–1
1 NC
United States Sharmba Mitchell RTD 7 (12) 2001-02-03 United States Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Retained WBC & won WBA (Super) Light Welterweight titles.
Win 25–1
1 NC
Mexico Julio César Chávez TKO 6 (12) 2000-07-29 United States Veteran's Memorial Coliseum, Phoenix, Arizona, United States Retained WBC Light Welterweight title.
Win 24–1
1 NC
Mexico Ahmed Santos TKO 8 (12) 2000-02-12 United States Mohegan Sun Casino, Uncasville, Connecticut, United States Retained WBC Light Welterweight title.
Win 23–1
1 NC
Mexico Miguel Angel Gonzalez TKO 10 (12) 1999-08-21 United States Miccosukee Indian Gaming Resort, Miami, Florida, United States Won vacant WBC Light Welterweight title.
Win 22–1
1 NC
Cuba Diosbelys Hurtado TKO 5 (12) 1998-11-28 United States Fantasy Springs Casino, Indio, California, United States Won interim WBC Light Welterweight title.
Win 21–1
1 NC
United States Rafael Ruelas TKO 9 (12) 1998-08-15 United States County Coliseum, El Paso, Texas, United States WBC Light Welterweight Title Eliminator.
Win 20–1
1 NC
United States Calvin Grove KO 1 (10) 1998-04-05 Australia Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Win 19–1
1 NC
Argentina Ismael Armando Chaves TKO 3 (12) 1997-12-06 Australia Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia WBC Light Welterweight Title Eliminator.
Loss 18–1
1 NC
United States Vince Phillips TKO 10 (12) 1997-05-31 United States Trump Taj Mahal, Atlantic City, New Jersey, United States Lost IBF Light Welterweight title.
NC 18–0
1 NC
Puerto Rico Leonardo Mas NC 1 (12) 1997-01-18 United States Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Retained IBF Light Welterweight title.
Win 18–0 South Africa Jan Piet Bergman KO 6 (12) 1996-09-14 Australia Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia Retained IBF Light Welterweight title.
Win 17–0 United States Corey Johnson KO 4 (12) 1996-05-24 Australia Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Retained IBF Light Welterweight title.
Win 16–0 Colombia Hugo Pineda TKO 11 (12) 1996-01-20 Australia Parramatta Stadium, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Retained IBF Light Welterweight title.
Win 15–0 United States Roger Mayweather UD 12 1995-06-25 Australia Newcastle Entertainment Centre, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia Retained IBF Light Welterweight title.
Win 14–0 Puerto Rico Jake Rodriguez TKO 6 (12) 1995-01-28 United States MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada, United States Won IBF Light Welterweight titles
Win 13–0 Dominican Republic Pedro Sanchez TKO 4 (10) 1994-08-29 Australia National Tennis Centre, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Win 12–0 Puerto Rico Angel Hernandez TKO 7 (10) 1994-05-02 Australia Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Win 11–0 Mexico Hector Lopez UD 10 1994-01-11 United States Hyatt Regency, Tampa, Florida, United States
Win 10–0 Saint Kitts and Nevis Livingstone Bramble UD 10 1993-08-23 Australia Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Win 9–0 United States Robert Rivera KO 1 (10) 1993-06-18 Australia Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Win 8–0 United States Larry LaCoursiere TKO 1 (10) 1993-05-14 Australia Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Win 7–0 The Bahamas Steve Larrimore TKO 2 (10) 1993-01-30 United States The Pyramid, Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Win 6–0 Puerto Rico Sammy Fuentes TKO 1 (10) 1992-11-13 Australia Festival Hall, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Win 5–0 Argentina Daniel Ricardo Cusato TKO 7 (10) 1992-09-11 Australia Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Win 4–0 Puerto Rico Juan Laporte UD 10 1992-07-23 Australia Darling Harbour Convention Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Win 3–0 Australia Tony Jones TKO 2 (10) 1992-05-07 Australia Darling Harbour Convention Centre, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Win 2–0 Guyana Nedrick Simmons KO 1 (8) 1992-04-02 Australia Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Win 1–0 Australia Darrell Hiles TKO 1 (8) 1992-03-01 Australia Princes Park Football Ground, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Kostya's professional debut.


Tszyu's record currently stands at 31 professional wins (25 by knockout), two losses and one no contest.

Personal life[edit]

Kostya and Natasha Tszyu

Tszyu married Natasha Anikina on 24 September 1993.[5] He has three children. Anastasia , Nikita and Tim The family live in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

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.[6] 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. In September 2012, Tszyu reportedly left his family in Australia while he moved full-time to live in Russia.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ЦЗЮ (in Russian). RODSTVO.RU (Russian Genealogical Tree). Retrieved 1 January 2004. [dead link]
  2. ^ Vester, Mark (20 April 2010). "Kostya Tszyu Talks Ring Return, Darchinyan, More". BoxingScene.com. 
  3. ^ Vester, Mark (21 April 2010). "Tszyu Delusional, Would Return For Pacquiao, Mayweather". BoxingScene.com. 
  4. ^ Kostya Tszyu's Professional Boxing Record – BoxRec.com
  5. ^ Tszyu, Kostya; Malcolm Andrews. Kostya: My Story. Bond University Press. p. 115. ISBN 0-7333-1592-5. 
  6. ^ The Bulletin publishes for the last time)
  7. ^ Fightbeat.com - Tszyu leaves Australia

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jake Rodriguez
IBF Light Welterweight Champion
28 January 1995 – 31 May 1997
Succeeded by
Vince Phillips
New title WBC Light Welterweight Interim Champion
28 November 1998 – 21 August 1999
Won full title
Succeeded by
Lucas Matthysse
Preceded by
Oscar De La Hoya
WBC Light Welterweight Champion
21 August 1999 – 19 January 2004
Succeeded by
Arturo Gatti
New title
Unified against Sharmba Mitchell
WBA Light Welterweight Super Champion
3 February 2001 – 16 March 2004
Succeeded by
Ricky Hatton
Preceded by
Zab Judah
IBF Light Welterweight Champion
3 November 2001 – 4 June 2005
Preceded by
Aaron Pryor
The Ring Light Welterweight Champion
3 November 2001 – 4 June 2005
Preceded by
Takeshi Fuji
Undisputed Light Welterweight Champion
3 November 2001 – 19 January 2004
Titles fractured