1) Zab Judah

This November 2001 win was the one that truly catapulted Tszyu up the pound-for-pound rankings, thanks to a combination of the fight’s magnitude and the manner of the finish. With all three major belts on the line, Tszyu added Judah’s IBF to his own WBA and WBC by scrambling his senses with a deadly right cross in round two.


2) Miguel Angel Gonzalez

Back in the swing of things after losing against Vince Phillips, Tszyu returned to world title contention when defeating Gonzalez via 10th-round stoppage in August 1999. With the stoppage came the WBC light-welterweight title.


3) Sharmba Mitchell I

Not content with just the IBF belt, Tszyu picked up the WBA version of the light-welterweight crown in February 2001 when forcing Sharmba Mitchell to retire on his stool after seven rounds.

Kostya Tszyu nails Sharmba Mitchell (Getty Images)


4) Jake Rodríguez

The first of Tszyu’s world title fights, this win against Rodríguez took place in January 1995 and ended with Rodríguez being stopped in the sixth round. The win landed Tszyu the IBF light-welterweight title in only his 14th pro fight.


5) Sharmba Mitchell II

Tszyu’s last win as a pro, this third-round demolition of Mitchell in November 2004 led to Tszyu retaining his IBF belt and, despite his advancing age, teased bigger wins down the line, so great was the performance.


6) Julio César Chávez

While Chávez was at the time a shadow of his former self, the sixth-round beating Tszyu managed to produce in July 2000 saw him retain his WBC light-welterweight crown and put his name up in lights stateside.

kostya tszyu

Tszyu against Chavez


7) Roger Mayweather

As well this being the first defence of his IBF light-welterweight title, Tszyu’s June 1995 fight against Roger Mayweather also represented the first time he had gone 12 rounds as a pro. He won, of course, but had to settle for a decision.


8) Ben Tackie

Tszyu’s May 2002 win against Tackie was memorable not only because it was the first time Tszyu had defended all three major light-welterweight belts, but also because his performance, a 12-round clinic, was as dominant a performance as you are likely to see.


9) Jesse James Leija

Fighting in a world title fight at home in Australia for the first time since 1996, Tszyu mauled Leija early during their 2003 fight and refused to let up until Leija had withdrawn on his stool after six rounds.


10) Jan Piet Bergman

In what would turn out to be his final successful defence of his IBF title during his first run as champion, Tszyu punished Bergman from the outset before stopping him in the sixth round in September 1996.