Lennox Lewis and Kostya Tszyu: Boxing Twins? - HoganPhotos.com
By Paul Upham: It was a puzzled expression on the face of Kostya Tszyu. Having just told him my latest discovery, that I believed Lennox Lewis and he were just like twins, it was not surprising. It was the sort of astonished look you might get if you told the former undisputed junior welterweight world champion that Zab Judah was still keen on a rematch. Probably just like the expression you have on your face right now reading this.
I can understand why you are a little sceptical about my claim. On the surface, it is not easy to see the similarities between Lewis, the 6'5'' Englishman of Jamaican descent and Tszyu, the 5'7'' Russian born Australian citizen.
Still disbelieving? Then read on and I will reveal all.
Both Lewis and Tszyu were world champion amateur boxers. They both competed at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul. While Lewis won the Olympic Gold medal and subsequently made his professional debut in June 1989, Tszyu remained in the amateurs until 1991 where he became world amateur champion, turning professional the following year in March 1992. Lewis' amateur record was 85-9. Tszyu's was 259-11.
Both became professional world champions without a loss. Lewis won the WBC world title in October 1992, taking 3 years 4 months from his debut date. Tszyu won the IBF title in January 1995, taking 2 years and 10 months.
Both lost their world titles by stoppage. Lewis to Oliver McCall in September 1994. Tszyu to Vince Phillips in May 1997.
Both came back from their knockout loss to not only become world champion again, regaining the title they lost, but both returned as improved boxers and became undisputed world champions of their division. Lewis when he defeated Evander Holyfield in November 1999. Tszyu when he knocked out Zab Judah in November 2001.
You can see now that their boxing careers have followed very similar paths. But there is even more facts to link the two.
Both can be considered one of the best in their division's history.
Both were considered at the top of the pound for pound lists during their best years.
Both were Ring Magazine world champions.
Both made 14 successful world title defences.
Both had a second career stoppage loss. Lewis to Hasim Rahman in April 2001. Tszyu to Ricky Hatton in June 2005.
Both represented two countries during their careers and are considered dual national heroes. Lewis in England and Canada. Tszyu in Russia and Australia.
Both came from outside the USA to succeed in the home of big time boxing.
Both were known for big right hands with knockout power.
Both came from struggling and tough life backgrounds to reach the top.
Both point to their parent's guidance as important reasons for their success.
Both have very similar knockout winning percentages. Lewis 72.72%. Tszyu 73.52%
Both were known more for their first names, Lennox and Kostya, than for their ring names, "Lion" and "Thunder from Down Under".
Both were born in the month of September. Lewis on 2nd, 1965. Tszyu on 19th, 1969.
Both were born under the Virgo star sign.
Both love stylish clothes and have a sense of fashion.
Both have unique hair styles. Lewis with his dreadlocks and Tszyu with his pigtail.
But for all their similarities listed above, the best trait which is possessed by both is the magnificent ambassadors they have been for the sport of boxing. While they were great champions inside the ring, neither found themselves ever in any sort of criminal or controversial trouble outside of the ring. Both are great family men, are appreciative of their fans and are respectful of the sport of boxing.
Two pretty cool guys when you measure it all up.
Tszyu was impressed after given this information in detail. "You have been doing your research," he said.
The comparison of the two first came about last week during Lewis' visit to Australia for the launch of the Superfighter heavyweight tournament in Melbourne on December 2.
Watching them spend time together, it was obvious there was great respect and friendship between them.
"I saw a lot of Kostya's fights over the years," said Lewis. "His fighting style was wicked! His boxing was very, very effective."
"Lennox had a great right hand," said Tszyu. "He would bluff you with his left and knock you out with his right. Then, when you were expecting his right, he would knock you out with his left hand."