Australian boxing star Tim Tszyu arrives in Los Angeles this week with exclusive access to one of the America’s most famed boxing minds – and a trainer, coincidentally, who rushed the ring against his old man 24 years ago.
In preparation for his showdown with undisputed super welterweight king Jermell Charlo, 28-year-Tszyu jetted out of Sydney on Monday for a US fight camp set to cost him a staggering $250,000.
While not facing the American superstar until January 29, Tszyu will spend all nine weeks of the build-up Stateside – splitting his time between the City of Angels and then Las Vegas.
Shortly before flying out, the son of Aussie boxing royalty gave little away to the gathered press other than a short, ominous warning for Charlo, declaring: “It’s hunting season”.
Fox Sports Australia can reveal however that Tszyu will land in the US on Monday and, within 24 hours, be inside the gym of Joe Goossen – the famed LA trainer whose all-star client list has included the likes of Riddick Bowe, Shane Mosley, Amir Khan and Diego Corrales.
Currently working with lightweight contender Ryan Garcia, Goossen will not only will sit in on Tszyu sparring sessions over the next few weeks, but has also agreed to completely close off his gym — Ten Goose Boxing — for a month so the Aussie can prepare away from prying eyes.
All of which, you should know, is a courtesy first born some 24 years in El Paso, Texas.
Back when a much younger Goossen was forced to rush the ring inside a stadium initially built for rodeos to save one of his favourite fighters from a fella named Kostya Tszyu.
That night, Tszyu snr was fighting a hyped world title eliminator against Rafael Ruelas, who was not only a previous IBF lightweight world champion but a charge of Goossen since his early teens.
Under the bright lights in El Paso however, it was all The Thunder from Down Under – with Goossen, by the ninth, eventually rushing the ring to save Ruelas and have the fight waved off.
Which wouldn’t be the last time the US trainer cursed Kostya, either.
In fact, before flying out with Tim Tszyu on Monday, manager Glen Jennings revealed how the boxer’s old man had fought no less than “four or five” fighters either trained by Goosen or managed by his late brother, Dan.
“And Kostya won every single one of them,” laughs Jennings, who has now famously stayed in the employ of both father and son.
“So our relationship with the Goosens, for a while there it was a bit one-sided.
“But it’s great to think you can remain mates and now, over 20 years later, reconnect like this.
“I’ve spoken with Joe and he’s giving us the gym exclusively for a month.
“He’s closing the doors for Tim which is wonderful.
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“And while obviously he also has a lot going on himself, he will be there too (for Tszyu’s sparring sessions) which is great.”
Jennings is one of only three people joining Tszyu during the first part of his US camp – alongside trainer Igor Goloubev and chef Omar, whose costing to the team alone is about $30,000.
So as for the total bill?
“Quarter of a million,” Jennings said.
“Because this is as big as it gets.
“The undisputed title, there’s no bigger prize in boxing.
“We’ve had a taste of it with Kostya in the three-belt era.
“But this is four belts.
“So another step up.
“And because of that I’ve told Tim that I told him I won’t be cutting any corners.
“That way we’ll come home with the belts … because we’re doing this with absolutely no short cuts.”
Speaking with reporters at Sydney International Airport, Tszyu said: “There’s a little bit of nerves but it’s just kill or be killed right now.
“I’m going hunting, it’s hunting season.
“This the biggest challenge there is right now.
“It’s going to be a big moment in Australian sporting history.
“I understand everything that’s involved, everything I’m putting on the line, this is why I’m leaving so much earlier.
“This is why I’ve been busting my arse in the gym the last four months, non-stop. This is all in.”
Tszyu also suggested Charlo was overlooking him.
“They don’t rate us,” the Aussie added.
“But I’m here to shock the world in spectacular fashion and I’ve got all the tools to do that, I really do.
“When you get in the ring with me, it’s a whole different nightmare.
“And I’m lit up right now. Ready to go.
“It’s Vegas, it’s the four belts, it’s the glory, this is everything I’ve ever worked for right now.”