Those who follow me at rosstraining have likely read some of my posts about hand-eye coordination. One drill that I’ve referenced before is to strike a tennis ball that’s attached to a hat with an elastic cord (ex. here). The drill has become quite popular in recent years. World champion Vasyl Lomachenko is one boxer who is often seen using a similar device. Many actually believe that he is the first boxer to use such a tool. The reality though is that Kostya Tszyu was training with a reaction ball long before Lomachenko became a household name.
Kostya Tszyu – Ahead of his Time
Just as Vasyl Lomachenko’s training is today, Kostya Tszyu’s training techniques were well ahead of his time. A brief glimpse of Tszyu using his reaction ball can be found below.
Training with a reaction ball isn’t all that Lomachenko and Tszyu share in common however. Both were also amateur world champions who progressed quickly as professionals (each capturing multiple world titles). In just his 4th bout, Kostya Tszyu fought his first 10 rounder against former world champion Juan Laporte. Two fights later, Tszyu knocked out future world champion Sammy Fuentes in the first round. Not long after (in his 14th bout), Kostya Tszyu became a professional world champion.
Boxing Training with Kostya Tszyu
As for the methods that led to Tszyu’s success, you’ll see some of his techniques demoed in the instructional video below.
Amateur and Professional Highlights
When looking back at Kostya Tszyu’s career, there were many exciting fights as an amateur and professional. Two of my favorites can be found below.
First, take a look at one of the best amateur fights you’ll ever see. It’s the 1991 world championship bout between Kostya Tszyu and future professional champion Vernon Forrest. Tszyu put on an absolute boxing clinic in the fight.
Next, you’ll see the professional unification bout between Kostya Tszyu and Zab Judah.
Tszyu vs. Judah may have been a short fight, but it was certainly full of action and drama. I remember the fight vividly as Tszyu and Judah had both fought a few months before in my home state of Connecticut. Each fought in separate bouts at the Mohegan Sun Casino to generate interest for their unification title fight.
While staying in Connecticut, I was fortunate enough to see Kostya Tszyu training for his fight. Not only was I impressed with his training style, but also his demeanor. Tszyu was an absolute gentleman. It was an honor to see him preparing behind the scenes.
As I’ve often said, it’s always useful to study and learn from the great fighters who came before. Kostya Tszyu was an amateur and professional world champion. Any time that you can spend studying his career is time well spent. He was technically brilliant and exciting to watch.
If you are a fighter or trainer, I highly recommend studying Kostya Tszyu’s career.