Tim Tszyu is the best boxer you've never heard of
Today’s junior middleweight division is packed to the brim with sensational talent, and many have turned in remarkable performances over the last few years.
While fighters like Jermell Charlo, Erislandy Lara, and Julian Williams have been division mainstays, there is a lot to like about rising contender Tim Tszyu.
As a matter of fact, Tszyu may be the best fighter we aren’t talking about — yet.
Tszyu following in legendary father’s footsteps
Tszyu is the son of Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, who was one of the best junior welterweight champions ever.
In his prime, Kostya was the epitome of a complete fighter and is often regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters of his generation. Tim is following in his father’s footsteps, fighting mainly out of New Zealand and Australia, but he has already showed advanced elements in his game.
The younger Tszyu is 17-0 with 13 knockouts. He has shown excellent hand speed and power, targets the body like his father did, and is actively increasing his level of opposition.
In his most notable fight, Tim battered former welterweight champion Jeff Horn inside eight rounds. He’ll be back in the ring March 31, against former title challenger Dennis Hogan.
Tszyu is already closing in on a title shot
As it stands now, Tim Tszyu is already a top 10 contender in each of the four major sanctioning bodies. There might be designs for him to face off against recently crowned WBO champion Brian Castaño in the near future, but Tszyu can keep his high ranking while he takes some developmental fights along the way.
Hogan is a seasoned contender, and a comprehensive win will suggest he is advancing toward title contention.
Before Tszyu does get his title shot, he is more likely to make his U.S. debut. While fights with Charlo or Castaño may not materialize for a while, there are bouts to be made with ex-champions, like Jeison Rosario or Tony Harrison, to gauge how Tszyu will fare at the elite level. If he plays his cards right, he’ll be unavoidable by the end of the year.
Name recognition will help boost his appeal
Boxing loves backstories, and familial legacies go a long way to boost a fighter. We’ve seen boxers like Aaron Pryor Jr. and Hector Camacho Jr. get continuous shots because of their famous fathers, and the same goes for the never-ending disappointment that is Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
Tszyu’s success and his father's unforgettable run will inevitably be intertwined, and it will both brighten the spotlight and be a monkey on his back.
Regardless, Tszyu will continue to develop and thrive in the sport’s best division. Once the time is right, he’ll bust out and stake his claim as one of the best fighters in that storied weight class. When that happens, don’t forget where you heard it first.