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26 Dec, 2008 08:11

Kostya Tszyu - from ring to rink

World pairs skating champion Maria Petrova and former undisputed world boxing champion Kostya Tszyu have joined forces to put on a different kind of show.

Kostya Tszyu retired from the ring three years ago. His career saw him unify all belts in the junior welterweight division. He became the first fighter in thirty years to do so. But now he’s swapped the boxing ring for the ice rink.

Although he’s been living in Australia since 1992 with his family, he makes regular visits to his homeland.

Born in the Ural Mountains region, Kostya remains a sporting hero both in Russia and in Australia. His affairs on native soil usually involve promoting a healthy way of life to kids and a charity fund in his own name.

At his latest event he raised $US 380,000 dollars by selling off his fighting gear. But the world champion is willing to do far more for his fund than promote it with past boxing glory.

World pairs skating champion Maria Petrova has been working with the boxing legend over the last three months.

“The hardest thing for Kostya is to memorise the composition. But he is very strong and I’ve tried to use this a lot, for things like lifts and spins and other twists and twirls,” she explained.

Tszyu and Petrova are taking part in a skating show on Russian TV on which professional figure skaters and celebrities unite to compete.

“The hardest thing for me is smiling. For thirty years I learned not to smile when I put my body in stress. But here you must act and smile to attract people,” said Kostya.