Showtime Boxing returns this Saturday night live from the Armory in Minneapolis, MN. The card is headlined by the long-awaited debut of junior middleweight contender Tim Tszyu (20-0), going up against Olympian Terrell Gausha (22-2-1). The winner of this fight is certainly looking at a title shot in the near future with whoever is the champion at that point.
The last couple of years has been interesting as Tim Tszyu has established somewhat of a cult following here in the U.S amongst the hardcore boxing fans. For those that don't know, Tim is the son of former undisputed super lightweight champion Kostya Tszyu whose title reign went from 2001 to 2005. For those not aware of Tim's father, Kostya, his highlight reel can be found all over the internet, especially his destruction of Brooklyn's own Zab Judah, who was at the peak of his career.
I checked in with Tim, and given his dad's reputation, what was it like growing up as the son of a boxing great? Tim smiled and told NYF, “It was pretty cool. Everyone thinks their dad is a superhero, and I guess my dad was a real-life superhero, so it was pretty cool to grow up with a dad like that.” I could only imagine how it was as a child and being the son of a boxing great. It's probably equivalent to how Chavez Jr. felt and the son of Manny Pacquiao.
The challenge comes when there is an expectation of becoming a fighter, whether that's something you desire or not. Tim said,” Growing up with it from such a young age and watching the legendary fights, it's always something I have been wanting to do and dreamed about doing.” It looks like the apple didn't fall from the tree with Tim Tszyu.
With all of the buzz surrounding the twenty-seven-year-old Tsyzu, it was time for his U.S debut, and a few weeks back, Premier Boxing Champions announced that Tim would be fighting on March 26. With a very busy 2021, is this the right time to make the U.S debut? Tim told NYF, “I thought I was ready in 2020 to come here and fight big fights. At the same time, it hasn't done any harm as we have done great things in Australia. It's a new chapter now, and I'm in the big leagues under the big bright lights. It's pretty cool to actually be here.”
What about the pressure to fulfill the Tsyzu name amongst the hardcore fans here in the U.S? Tsyzu was cool, calm, and collected on the zoom. When this question came up, he confidently said, “There is no pressure. I don't feel any, and if there is a little, then good. It's like a new chapter, and I'm enjoying the process because I'm coming here unknown. Even walking out in the street here (Las Vegas), no one knows me. In Australia, everyone knows me, so it's a new chapter, and I like to embrace it.”
Tim Tszyu spent the majority of his training camp in Australia under the watchful eyes of his trainer Coach Igor (Goloubev), strength & conditioning coach Dave Barker, Grandfather, and his manager Glen. He keeps his team small and simple as he doesn't like the thought of having an entourage. Tszyu shared that he doesn't do anything different than any other fighter when getting prepared for fights which consist of roadwork, sparring, and gym work. The only thing he needed to adjust to was the time zone which is why he traveled to Las Vegas before going to Minnesota.
So what does Tim think about his opponent Terrell Gausha? Tszyu told NYF, “He is a tough competitor. He has only lost to the very best Lara and Lubin. He never lost to an orthodox fighter as he has only lost to southpaws. He's an Olympian, has quick hands, a good counter puncher, and does good things very well, and I'm quite excited for this challenge.” Is there a title shot in the immediate future if all goes well? Tim said, “We'll see what happens. If Charlo wins, what will he do, or if Castano does, who knows what they will do? Holding onto all of the belts is a burden because you have to defend them against so many different mandatories. I'm the mandatory for the WBO, so, ‘you can run, but you can't hide,' as they say.”
Towards the end of the call, I asked Tim Tszyu to give me some expectations, especially for those watching him for the first time. Tszyu told NYF, “I love to punch on. Let's get the gloves on, and I'm ready to punch on. I'm not here to tip tap, dance around my toes. I'm here to punch on and do damage.”
My Three Cents
Tim Tszyu is a beast in the ring and likes to overwhelm his opponents with pressure. It's time for everyone to see if he is the real deal or someone that looks good against lesser opposition. With Gausha, his ability to cut off the ring and endurance will be put to the test, but it's something that Tszyu looks to be well prepared for. Is Tim Tszyu the next champion with international star power? You'll have to tune into Showtime this Saturday night to see if Tim Tszyu checks all of the boxes to become a world champion in the future.