Former undisputed junior welterweight champion Kostya Tszyu says has backed his son Tim Tszyu to overtake Jeff Horn as the premier boxer from Australia.
The International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee made the comments ahead of Tszyu’s Australian title challenge against champion Joel Camilleri at The Star Casino in Sydney on Wednesday night.
Tszyu 2.0 has previously said he would be ready to fight former WBO welterweight champion Horn within three to four fights.
“I don’t think he will have any problems, I think he has learned how to control the pressure,” Kostya said in an interview with The Sunday Telegraph from his home in Russia.
“From what I’ve seen, this will not affect him. He knows not to put too much pressure on his own shoulders.
“It’s step by step, Jeff is more experienced in terms of fighting against the big names.
“Tim doesn’t have experience yet, but step by step and that fight will eventually happen, he has a few fights ahead and then he will definitely be ready.”
The younger Tszyu, 24, holds a record of 12-0 (10) in the punch-for-pay ranks, while Camilleri has had almost twice the number of fights at 17-5-1 (8).
“By the time I turned professional I’d had more than 200 amateur fights, so the big difference between myself and Tim is experience,” Kostya said.
“I was a three-time European champion, been a world champion and went around the world, I knew how to fight against different fighters, different styles, and this is what Tim must learn.”
Kostya admitted Camilleri will present a stern test for his son.
“Camilleri is a good fighter, he is awkward and a big puncher. Tim is not going to walk through this fight, it will be tough work,” Kostya said.
“Even though Tim doesn’t have experience, he was with me early in his life so he knows what to expect in boxing, what to expect from the fights, what to expect from the media, he has seen all that from a young age.
“Now, he needs to experience it all himself.”
The 28-year-old Camilleri from Melbourne, who is undefeated for five years, is bullish about his chances.
“At the end of the day this is my belt, I am the champ and he has to take it off me,” Camilleri said.
Tim, who was recently installed in the world rankings at number 15 by both the IBF and WBA, knows that he may get a world title shot sooner rather than later.
“I thought it was pretty cool,” Tim said to Fightnews. “Top 15 means that at any point in time someone can call you up and say you could fight for a world title, so I’ve got to be ready 100 percent, no matter what.
“That’s the funniest part about it, is that once you’re in the top-15 you can get a chance at any given moment. A world title could even be two months away if that happens.”
Tim said he never watches his opponents before he fights them, preferring instead to focus on what he intends to do in the ring.
“I really don’t like to watch my opponents because I like to focus on myself. I know what he’s like and it doesn’t faze me at all. I’m ready for everything. He doesn’t have much boxing skill, so I think he’ll come out with one option, to come out swinging and come forward,” Tim said.
“I haven’t had an opponent that does that, so it will be nice to have someone that brings out a different style in me.”