Tim Tszyu rival's brutal swipe at Aussie boxer ahead of title fight

The American fighter has laughed off comparisons between Tim Tszyu and his legendary dad.

Pictured left to right, Tony Harrison and Tim Tszyu.
Tony Harrison says Tim Tszyu (R) is nowhere near the level of boxer that his father Kostya was. Pic: Getty

American boxer Tony Harrison has scoffed at suggestions Tim Tszyu is a harder trainer than his famous father Kostya, after insisting the young Aussie fighter is "light years" behind his old man in terms of talent. The war of words between Harrison and the younger Tszyu has been ramping up ahead of their blockbuster WBO title showdown at Sydney's Qudos Bank Arena on Sunday.

Tszyu’s father, Kostya, is a former unified light-welterweight world champion and regarded as one of Australia's greatest ever boxers. While his son - who is used to the unflattering comparisons to his legendary dad - hasn't scaled the same heights in the boxing world, a win over Harrison will finally seal a date with unified super welterweight champ Jermell Charlo later this year.

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The undefeated Tszyu (21-0, 15KO) is attempting to emulate Kostya in becoming world champion with victory over Harrison (29-3-1, 21KO) to claim the interim WBO super-welterweight belt. After undergoing a rigorous commando-like training camp in preparation for the fight, the 28-year-old insisted he was a harder trainer than his father ever was.

Seen here, Tim Tszyu in training in 2023.
Tim Tszyu warms up during a training session in Sydney in 2023. Pic: Getty

"I went and researched a little bit about Cristiano Ronaldo. I know he's not a boxer but the way he approaches life is the way I am approaching life right now - as a true, 100 per cent athlete dedicated to his craft," Tszyu said. "Everything. Just the way I eat, when I eat, just true professionalism.

"I know when I was growing up my dad was an army sergeant with the way he approached life and I'm times two to how he was."

Harrison has been quick to throw shade at his Aussie rival after claiming the Sydneysider is nowhere near the level of his famous father. The American referenced some of Kostya's most iconic title fights - including the unforgettable second-round knockout victory over Zab Judah in 2001 - as evidence of the older Tszyu's superior class and the calibre of opponent he defeated, in comparison to his son.

“Kostya Tszyu was a man, he was a beast,” Harrison told the Main Event Boxing Podcast. “Kostya Tszyu was a f***ing beast.

“Kostya Tszyu came over here [to America] and proved he was a beast. He fought Zab [Judah]. He proved he was a beast, man. He fought the guys that were considered the best guys in the sport. Tim is way short of that. He is way short of that.”

Tony Harrison says Tim Tszyu is '100 levels under his father'

The American said the 28-year-old Tszyu is kidding himself by offering comparisons to his father. Harrison argued that even if Tim is a better trainer than his old man, he doesn't believe he comes close when it comes to skill level.

“He’s probably getting stories from people around him saying how undisciplined his father was, he probably does tick those boxes in terms of discipline and hard work, but is he better skilled than his father? F*** no,” Harrison told News Corp. “He is 100 levels under his father, he ain’t a patch on his father."

“Everything is not about hard work and discipline, you’ve got to have skills. Everything has got to line up, you can’t have one without the other.

“His father had to have some kind of discipline and hard work to become champion and beat the guys he beat, it was crazy. Talent levels, he is light years under his father, light years.

Harrison remains the only boxer to have defeated undisputed champion Charlo, with the winner of Sunday's fight set to square off against the American for a chance to unify the super welterweight division later in the year. Harrison will go into Sunday's contest as the underdog though, but is confident in his chance against the home favourite.

"I've lost the last couple of times in the late rounds and he's the guy who's tough and strong, high pace," Harrison told AAP. "So I definitely understand why they think that way or why they are setting this guy to win the fight.

"But every time they do shit like that, we kill 'em. We kill 'em. We've made like a year's monthly mortgage payments out of shit like that, me and the family. I always back myself. Always."

with AAP

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