2019
01/13

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Tszyu joins Hall of Fame

The coveted recognition comes just five years after Tszyu’s last fight – despite his on-going reluctance to confirm retirement – and is reward for a career which saw him rule the world’s junior welterweight ranks for almost half a decade.

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Inductees were voted on by members of the Boxing Writers Association of America and a panel of international boxing historians.

Tszyu was chosen along with Tyson, whose reign as the globe’s most feared heavyweight was followed by an epic fall from grace, and Mexican three-division champion Chavez.

“This is unbelievably great news.” Tszyu said. “I’m actually speechless. I can’t describe my feelings.

“My job was to make sure the people enjoyed themselves when they were watching me and I spent all my life doing so.

“I still continue to be involved in boxing to this day because boxing has been so great to me.

“To be inducted next to Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran and Jeff Fenech, who’s a good friend of mine, is a huge, huge honour.”

Russian-born Tszyu emigrated to Australia in 1991 with a vast amateur career behind him and turned pro to assemble a 31-2 record with 25 knockouts.

He became the unified world champion with a second-round TKO of Zab Judah in 2001 and also garnered notable wins over Chavez, Sharmba Mitchell, Calvin Grove, Roger Mayweather and Rafael Ruelas.

Mexican trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, referee Joe Cortez, and screenwriter and actor Sylvester Stallone were also honoured with Hall of Fame selection.

Posthumous honourees to be enshrined in June 12, 2011 ceremonies include bantamweight Memphis Pal Moore, light heavyweight champion Jack Root, and middleweight Dave Shade in the old-timer category, British heavyweight John Gully in the pioneer category, promoter A.F. Bettinson, and broadcaster Harry Carpenter.

Tyson’s rise to fame, and subsequent fall to infamy, has become the stuff of legend rivalling any cinema ring drama penned by the likes of Stallone.

He rose from the mean streets of Brooklyn, exploding on the boxing scene in the mid-1980s and becoming the youngest heavyweight champion in history in 1986 at the age of 20.

Considered unbeatable for the rest of the decade, Tyson’s career went off the rails when he suffered a shock upset to James “Buster” Douglas in 1990.

In 1992, Tyson was convicted of raping a beauty queen at a pageant in Indianapolis, Indiana. He served three years of a six-year sentence and was released in 1995 – and has always deniedraping the woman.

“Iron Mike” reclaimed the heavyweight throne but lost to Evander Holyfield in 1996 and notoriously bit Holyfield’s ears twice in a 1997 rematch, adding banishment to his ridicule.

He has battled substance abuse, been jailed for assault, and his last opportunity to recapture the heavyweight crown in 2002 resulted in an eighth-round knockout at the hands of Britain’s Lennox Lewis.

Tyson filed for bankruptcy in 2003 and retired after losses to Britain’s Danny Williams in 2004 and American Kevin McBride in 2005.

“I am honoured,” Tyson said of his election. “The sport of boxing has given me so much, and it is truly a blessing to be acknowledged alongside other historical boxing legends because they paved the way for me, as I hope I have inspired others in this great sport.”

Chavez’ trademark was the knockout. He notched 88 before retiring five years ago with a professional record of 107-6-2.

“I feel humble,” Chavez said. “At this moment in my life, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame is very special. I feel great to know that my name will be inscribed with the best of the best, to join some of my heroes and to leave a mark for my family and my country.”

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