For every one of Nikita Tszyu’s three fights in his budding boxing career, he’s adopted a different style of preparation.
His first was all about getting a fight, the second was about showcasing his frightening knockout power and the third was “pushing through” the “little hiccups” he had with his health.
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Now, Tszyu (3-0, 2KO) is adopting a more “tactical” approach against Darkon Dryden (4-0, 4KO) and it involves imitating one of the greatest to ever lace up the gloves: Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather.
“My favourite fighter is Mayweather,” Tszyu told foxsports.com.au.
“His approach to the sport is hitting and not getting hit. He’s mastered it, and the way he fights is beautiful. I feel when I imitate him during sparring sessions, I have this boost of skill set.
“Him and Jaron Ennis, who’s an absolute monster in the welterweight division, Terence Crawford, these fighters are extremely skilful on their feet, they’re elusive with their movements but they can hit you in moments where you’re not expecting to get hit.”
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It’s certainly a different approach than what Tszyu has produced in the past, where he wanted to emulate the style of Errol Spence Jr. where he was “constantly walking through people”, but for the 24-year-old, “it’s not something that suits me very well.”
Instead, the youngest member of the famous boxing family is still hellbent on “breaking someone down”, but against Dryden, Tszyu wants to destroy him in the “mental battle”.
“When you can see someone’s eyes completely lose hope and you can feel them struggling and hating life, that’s the most satisfying style for me and the style I like the most,” Tszyu said.
“Questioning whether they want to be in the ring or not. That’s the kind of stuff that’s done by taking all of their tools away from them and making things look easy.”
Tszyu plans on doing just that to Dryden on Saturday at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre, although the two have contrasting beliefs as to how the fight will finish.
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Dryden is adamant he finishes Tszyu before the final bell, but the latter is rubbing his hands at the prospect of dragging the bout all the way to the judges’ scorecards.
Simply because Tszyu knows his rival has never been into “deep waters” before, having finished all of his four previous fights inside two rounds.
“He’s never had to dig deep,” Tszyu said.
“Three rounds is for amateurs, that’s no problem. You can punch non-stop for three rounds. But it’s in those later rounds that you can really start to break someone down.
“When you watch the top guys do it, you see the first few round they feel it out, then the pace starts getting picked up after the later ones. By the time the fight’s in the sixth round, you can see someone’s already dismantled.
“That’s something he’s never had to face. I’ve had to face it by doing it to myself in my most recent fight. I’m ready to take him to deep waters and go fishing with him.”