He may be a chip off the old block, but there’s a far more influential figure in Tim Tszyu’s life than his famous father Kostya.
It’s 74-year-old Boris Tszyu who calls the shots in Tim’s life – inside and outside the boxing ring.
Believing his father, former undisputed world junior welterweight champion, is behind Tszyu’s own rise to prominence is any easy assumption for sports fans to make.
But the 25-year-old on Thursday set the record straight, declaring his meticulous grandfather the making of him.
“He’s everything. EVERYTHING,” Tszyu told AAP before his stoush with rugged New Zealander Bowen Morgan next Wednesday night in Sydney.
“Every little aspect of boxing and my life, my grandfather’s in it.
“My grandfather is the key piece. Not just for my career, but dad’s career too.
“He’s the foundation, he’s the block, he’s the one who pushes it.”
While Tszyu’s father moved back to Russia years ago, the young star consults with his grandfather three or four times daily.
With good reason.
The meticulous mentor keeps a log of both his son and grandson’s careers, comparing every minute detail, right down to how many ropes they each skipped at what age, their weights, when and what they eat and, of course, their records in the ring.
Given that Kostya had some 300 amateur fights before turning professional, that’s some record keeping.
Tim often doesn’t even know when he’s required to train. He merely waits for a quiet nod of the head from Boris before rising for work.
It’s that stringent routine and unwavering sense of discipline that has earned Tszyu not only the Australian super welterweight title but also a reputation as one of the most impressive and fittest athletes in the country.
He’s a young man on a mission and nothing will stop Tszyu trying to emulate his father and become a world champion.
Certainly not Morgan, for Tszyu knows there can be no setbacks on his climb up the ranks.
“For me, losing is not an option. In anything I do, there’s only one option and that is to win,” said Tszyu, who showcased his credentials with an emphatic TKO win over former world champion Jeff Horn in Townsville in August.
Morgan is expected to try and fight tight and place the clever and skilful Tszyu under pressure.
“Look, everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the face. Mike Tyson said it and I want to show it,” Tszyu said.
Despite taking a leaf out of Tyson’s playbook, Tszyu won’t underestimate his opponent.
“I respect any fighter that gets in the ring, especially with a guy with a record of 22 wins,” he said.
“It’s always a dangerous fight. He’s got a top-15 ranking. He’s dangerous.”
Victory at Bankwest Stadium would edge Tszyu ever closer to another of his career goals to fight one day in his father’s homeland.
“It’s always been a dream to fight in Russia because I am Russian,” he said.
“I was born in Australia but I am Russian, so it’s got a special place in my heart so I’d love to fight there some day.”