National Conference Call Transcript: Kostya Tszyu

23.01.04 - Question: How did you hurt your shoulder and what has happened since? Tszyu: First of all, I want to thank SHOWTIME for continuing to support me. They have been a great help to me because I have been a very, very proud champion for many years. To suffer this injury at this time was very disappointing because I had not be active for some time and was looking forward to a fight against Sharmba Mitchell (Feb. 7, SHOWTIME). It is the second big injury I have had in my career and both happened within one year. But unfortunately, it happened, and we just had no option other than to postpone the fight. This was most disappointing when you are in great shape like I was, and now I have to start from scratch again. But I am very strong mentally and physically and I am sure I am going to be better than ever.

Question: The injury to your shoulder occurred during sparring, right?

Tszyu: Yes. What happened was, I think about one minute into my last round of work, I started feeling something uncomfortable in my left shoulder. I finished my training session completely but then decided to go see a physician. I went to see my doctor and we looked carefully at everything, but could not find anything. We thought I was going to get a couple days’ break, and that it was going to be fine within the next few days. The next day, I started feeling better. But then I decided I better get a second opinion so we went to see the professor (surgeon) in Sydney (Australia) for shoulder injuries. He did an MRI and x-rays showed that I had a torn muscle in my shoulder that would require surgery.

Question: You had the surgery last Saturday (Jan. 17)?

Tszyu: Yeah. Last Saturday, we had the surgery done. I went to see my doctor this morning and he was very happy with how everything has been going. At least I did not injure it more during the past few days. He seemed very happy, but this is going to take some time to heal. We have a long rehabilitation period ahead.

Question: Kostya, do you think this injury has anything to do with age or is it just bad luck?

Tszyu: I think it is very bad luck. I did ask this question to the professor and he said to me that it has nothing to do with age; it can happen to anybody. And, actually, it is a very similar injury to one I had 20 years ago at the beginning of my career, in a similar place. The doctor believes I am going to be even better than before.

Question: About how long do you think you are going to be out. Also, when you come back, do you think this is going to affect you still holding the title – (because) the World Boxing Council (WBC) already has declared you the “emeritus champion.” Do you think any of the belts are going to be taken away from you?

Tszyu: These are very difficult questions for me now because my team is working with the governing board for the best of what we can do. I have been a very proud champion for our organization for a long time and I do not want to be separated from my titles without a fight. But it is not my decision. I think it is going to be hard to sort out the problem. The time frame for my shoulder is about six to nine months for full recovery, but knowing my ability to recover quicker than other people, I expect myself to be ready, say, in six months.

Question: How do you plan to bide your time during the time off?

Tszyu: I have lots of things to do. I have got some ideas in my head that I need to explore. I know I will meet with a lot of people. I want to be with my family, too, of course. I am going to be busy. I cannot sit. I must stay active.

Question: If it does take six or nine months to come back, it will be almost two years between fights for you. Do you think that you might need a tune-up fight before you fight Sharmba Mitchell, or will you be able to go into that fight right away?

Tszyu: I think we will go ahead and start with Sharmba. I think I will be ready to fight anybody. The most important for me is the challenge in life and I think I am ready for this challenge.

Question: When you say that you think you might be able to be back in six months, will that be before you are able to resume training or before you will be able to fight?

Tszyu: They give me six months before I can really put pressure on my shoulder. But at the same time, I can do other exercises on my fitness. That is why I believe in six to nine months time, I am going to be completely ready to fight.

Question: How disappointing is it that you will not be able to defend in Russia, where the fans there were very excited about having the opportunity to see you fight?

Tszyu: I felt great, great support in Russia and I know that they are still waiting for me up there. I believe I am still going to be facing Sharmba there when I am ready.

Comment: Kostya, on behalf of everybody involved we would like to thank you for participating on today’s call. SHOWTIME supports you 100 percent in everything you do and hopes for you to have a speedy and complete recovery.

Tszyu: Thank you again. I want to give a special thanks to Jay Larkin for his great support over the years. And do not worry. I will not let you down. When I have totally recovered, you are going to see me at my best.

Article posted on 23.01.2004

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