Fights Scouted: Ben Horn, Mason Smith, Drake Dryden
The son of former JR welterweight king, Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, and younger brother of top-ranked junior middleweight Tim Tszyu. Nikita Tszyu is off to a 4-0 (3) start against decent competition and is already fighting six-rounders. It appears his handlers are looking to move him along quickly.
STRENGTHS- He has good size for his weight class. A 5’10 strong and physically strong lightweight. He sports a long snappy jab that he throws in a variety of ways. He turns it over in a semi-hook that scores with power and uses it to get on the inside. He can fight on the inside and outside but really looks to press forward. Puts together really fundamentally sound 1-2’s and can put the 3 behind it, but doesn’t do that enough. He has really good power, especially in the left hand. He also doesn’t have great fundamentals and doesnt really bend his knees and drive with full force from the outside despite that he still has really solid power. If he really worked on mechanics could have excellent power from the outside. He fires off much better shots from the inside where he commits to his punches and creates a lot of torque. He fires off nice uppercuts on the inside and digs the body really well. When he commits to the body he can be a really good offensive fighter. He has a good work rate and is already fighting six-rounders. He’s strong as a Brahma bull and can bully his way to the inside.
Defensively he is pretty basic. He likes the high guard but drops his hands. He moves and slides his head well from the outside. He slides out of the way nicely after throwing his straight left. On the inside, he comes straight in and doesnt move his head much. He does seem to have a really good chin. He took massive shots on the inside from Ben Horn (younger brother of Jeff Horn) stayed on his feet and fired back. There’s no question about his motivation and condition. He passes those tests with flying colors. He loves to exchange and at the domestic level is going to have success with his power and solid chin. Stylistically he reminds me a bit of a smaller Carl Froch, a poor man’s Carl Froch. he looks a bit sloppy, but he has good subtle skills and is doing a lot of things well, while not looking like a conventional boxer. Like Froch has power and a rock-solid jaw.
WEAKNESSES- He is slow, that is painfully obvious he is painfully slow. His hand speed and foot speed are not top-notch. While his footwork isn’t poor, he’s not crossing his feet but he is slow and plotting and doesnt work his angels he tried to run throw the front door. At the lower level, he is so strong that he is having success with it. He also telegraphs his punches. I dont know if that is something that can be fixed in short order. He shows all of his power shots, specifically when he loads up on his left hand. He is easy to time and easy to counter. Given his lack of head movement on the inside, his less-than-stellar speed, and showing his punches. He is a spectacular knockout waiting to happen. A good counterpuncher who can time the right hand can get rid of him in a heartbeat. He gets hit way too much in general and is way too eager to exchange on the inside. He also can’t cut the ring off and follows his opponent around. When he fatigues his head movement stops and becomes easy to tag which leads him to getting rocked late in the Horn fight.
Overall Rating- He’s no Tim Tszyu, we won’t be seeing him fighting at the highest level and for world titles anytime soon. He is only 24 years old, but he is already 24 years old. He has time to grow and improve but there’s so much he does that is still so amature-ish! He does a lot of things well. He has good power, decent fundamentals, a good gas tank, and work rate, fires a good jab. However, his weaknesses are just too glaring. He is too easy to hit, gets sloppy at times, and is just too slow to really compete at the highest of levels. Final grade is Fringe Contender. I think he will have some success and will be in A LOT of ENTERTAINING scraps, but will lose at the elite level and could get knocked out spectacularly.