Tim Tszyu vs Jermell Charlo, fight date, how to watch, start time, odds, Kostya Tszyu, relationship

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Sportem
9 Min Read

Los Angeles: Tim Tszyu, with a laugh, says he probably needs to have a chat with younger brother Nikita about The Liver King.

You know, that Tik Tok sensation whose past year has been spent sprouting clean living, organ eating, even his famed nine ancestral tenets … only to now be revealed as a steroid user whose habit costs around $12,000 per month.

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“But you think Nikita even knows?” Tszyu laughs of his younger sibling, also a devotee of eating raw liver, heart and bull testicles.

“I’m not sure he does.

“In fact, when it comes to my brother’s beliefs, his diets and some of the stuff he talks about – I listen to none of it.

“Still, I love him to death.”

Nikita Tszyu (R) will be ringside when his brother Tim Tszyu (L) challenges undisputed super welterweight world champion Jermell Charlo on January 29 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

Which is why, for the biggest fight of his life, little brother will be in his corner.

Or seated just behind it.

Right alongside Tszyu’s grandfather Boris and — gasp — Hall Of Fame father Kostya.

Which is some story, right?

And, Tszyu says, a situation also requiring a conversation all its own.

“Because,” says the new face of Australian boxing, “things have changed.”

Kicking back this particular Sunday morning at the rooftop bar of Hollywood’s The Godfrey Hotel, Tszyu is walking Fox Sports Australia through what will be a walk into the biggest fight of his life.

Specifically, a Las Vegas showdown against undisputed super welterweight king Jermell Charlo on January 29.

Tszyu meets Kupp ahead of Charlo camp | 01:05

In a moment he has been planning for some time, Tszyu will not only be accompanied to the ring by dad Kostya, brother Nikita and grandfather Boris, but is also having all three family members seated ringside, right behind his corner.

Which sounds a little like madness.

Especially given Tszyu, as recently as a year ago, said he would never again have the old man front row for any of his fights given his tendency to go a little, err, berko.

A truth proved way back in 2016, when Kostya surpised his boy by not only flying into Sydney on the eve of his professional debut against Zorran Cassady – but then plonked himself ringside the next day.

Which proved more than a little problematic.

With Tim revealing later how dad’s thick Russian accent grow so loud, so quickly, it became the only voice the boxer could hear as – increasingly frustrated — he battled through a tough six-rounder.

Asked about the evening since, Tszyu has described the presence of his old man as both “chaotic” and “out of control”, adding: “Dad’s a control freak, so it’s hard for him to watch someone he loves fight in the ring.”

So as for now having him not only there for the walkout, but seated right behind your corner?

“Dad will be in that area, yes,” Tszyu reveals.

Concerned?

“A little bit,” the fighter admits, smile widening.

“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.”

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Importantly, Tszyu insists his father, who remarried and returned to Russia when Tim was still young, has come to understand all of this.

“And respects it,” the 28-year-old says.

“Before, dad always saw me as his little boy.

“But not anymore.”

Better, Tszyu says he also now understands what his father is feeling when sat ringside.

Especially when we point out that when Tim corners for Nikita, it has been big brother rising to shout, point, even shadowbox and ride with the punches.

“And that’s something we actually spoke about early on,” Tszyu concedes. “I asked Nikita if he wanted me there for his fights and he said, yes, he did.

“But for his most recent appearance, I actually thought to myself ‘you know, I need to step back here and relax a little bit’.

“Because (I was being) like dad in my first fight

“So rather than screaming instructions, I just encouraged.

“Nikita was flowing in there, too.

“And when you flow, when your mind is free and there is no chaos coming in … you can do whatever you want.”

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Which is now how Tszyu envisages things being for the Charlo blockbuster.

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

“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.”

So what will it like to be surrounded by so much love?

“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,” he said, in direct reference to a dad who unified the light welterweight division by kayoing Zab Judah in 2001.

“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.”

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Importantly, Tszyu will also have mum Natalia and longtime girlfriend Alexandra Constantine arrive for fight week while his corner – as always – will be coach Igor Goloubev, second Kille and cutman Mark Gambin.

Asked how much of his mum and girlfriend he would see in fight week, Tszyu continued: “Not much.

“They’ll be in Las Vegas but away from everything.

“This was always going to be the fight my whole family comes to … but it’s strictly business.”

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While his father now resides permanently in Russia, Tszyu said the pair chat often over the phone.

“Although Dad and I, we don’t talk a lot about game plans,” the fighter explains. “Because he respects the fact Igor 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.”

So what chance he also takes some diet advice from Nikita over the next seven weeks?

“When it comes to my brother’s views and beliefs, I listen to none of it,” Tszyu laughs.

“Zero.

“The guy eats raw liver and not avocado.”

So as for his role on fight night?

“Nikita,” he laughs, “will be there to babysit dad”.

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