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New Tszyu makes his mark

His famous father taught him ''all the tricks'', and Nikita Tszyu has the same insatiable hunger as his dad Kostya to be the best in the world, even if that means skipping the Olympic Games.

Nikita is at the Australian Institute of Sport this week as part of a Boxing Australia futures camp in preparation for this year's junior world championships, but admits he wants to turn professional as soon as possible.

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Kostya Tszyu's son Nikita on boxing

Kostya Tszyu's son Nikita talks boxing, his dad and early morning starts, at an AIS boxing camp in Canberra.

That would mean forgoing the chance to claim Australia's first gold medal in boxing. Nikita is rated as a genuine medal prospect for the 2020 Olympics, by which time he will be 22 years of age.

''I reckon it [the Olympics] will be too late for me, I want to get into pros as early as possible,'' Nikita said. ''I want to get to the Commonwealth Games, then go pro.

''My dad did it early, I want to get as much experience in the professionals as I can.''

Already with three national titles under his belt, the 15-year-old makes no secret of his desire to better the feats of the first man to unify the light welterweight division in 30 years.


Kostya Tszyu turned professional when he was 22 and after an amazing amateur career, which finished with an imposing record of 259-11. He won gold at the 1991 world amateur championships in Sydney, but turned professional only months before the 1992 Olympic Games.

Tszyu hung up the gloves with a record of 31-2 and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011.

He now trains boxers in his native Russia and only returns to Australia a couple of times a year.

Nikita lives in Sydney and trains at his dad's boxing gym with his uncle. ''I talk to dad a lot,'' Nikita said. ''Not having him here makes me tougher, motivates me to show my dad that, yes, I'm a good boxer, even without you.

''I don't really like team sports, I don't like depending on other people. I work hard by myself and get all the results for myself.''

Whereas Kostya was renowned for his power punching, his young prodigy has built his success by staying on the outside and using his pace to his advantage.

As for what his goals are for the junior world titles in the Ukraine in August, Nikita's response is simple. ''I've got one job, that's to win the gold,'' he said.

Joining Tszyu at the week-long camp with 25 of the country's up-and-coming boxers is Canberra teenager Adrian Farquhar.

The 15-year-old won the national title in the 46-kilogram weight division in January and is eager to test himself against the best in the world.