Home Boxing News Tim Tszyu’s fight against Jermell Charlo will be a family affair

Tim Tszyu’s fight against Jermell Charlo will be a family affair

Tim Tszyu (right) with his father Kostya Tszyu. Photo credit: Getty Images

There will be one particularly interested observer when WBO number one junior middleweight contender Tim ‘The Soul Taker’ Tszyu 21-0 (15) challenges undisputed 154-pound champion Jermell ‘Iron Man’ Charlo 35-1-1 (19) at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 28.

It is a particularly significant date for the Tszyu family. It was on this date 28 years ago that Tszyu’s famour father Kostya won his first world title when he swept through Jake Rodriguez to claim the IBF junior welterweight championship in Las Vegas by sixth-round knockout.

The senior Tszyu went on to unify the division with a stunning second-round knockout of Zab Judah, again in Las Vegas, in 2001. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame a decade later.

Australian Tim, 28, has a complex relationship with his father, who returned to live in his native Russia some years ago. Despite this, he is still expecting to be ringside for his first world title fight. It will be the first time Kostya has witnessed his son box live since his pro debut against Zorran Cassady in 2016.

“Dad’s a control freak, so it’s hard for him to watch someone he loves fight in the ring,” Tszyu said to Fox Sports. “Dad will be in that [corner] area, yes. But before it all happens we’re going to have a chat. Because the last time my dad saw me fight, I was a boy. Now though, it’s completely different. I’m my own man. And what I’ve done to get into this position, it’s been all on my own.

“Before, dad always saw me as his little boy. But not anymore.”

Boxing is truly a family legacy for the fighting Tszyus. Tim’s grandfather Boris works his corner, as he did throughout Kostya’s career. And Tim’s younger brother Nikita turned professional this year, racking up four wins with three knockouts.

“It will be cool because I’ve never had my grandpa, father and brother with me before,” Tszyu said.

“In all of my fights, Nikita has never walked out with me. This will be his first time. And to also have my grandpa and my dad with me, it’s three generations of the Tszyus all in one corner together.

“It’s not just love, it’s people who have been there before and felt the same thing – walked out to the biggest prize of them all. That’s what gives me comfort. A lot of people in this situation, they come out with rappers or something else cool. I’m walking to the ring with warriors.”

Tszyu added: “Although Dad and I, we don’t talk a lot about game plans. Because he respects the fact Igor [Goloubev] is my coach. He respects that Igor started with me at age 12. That he’s the one who has developed me through endless hours together.

“So dad isn’t going to come in and say ‘oh, you have to do this or that’. But there are certain things I ask him. Like how do you feel before a fight like this? Ask about the nerves, the wait … that’s what we talk about.”