By - AAPNEWS
George Kambosos Jr has paid tribute to newly-crowned world champion Tim Tszyu after Australia's two boxing superstars completed an extraordinary double act.
The little-known back story to Tszyu's rise to interim WBO super-welterweight titleholder is how he and Kambosos - the former unified lightweight world champion - trained for years with each other in the same suburban Sydney gym.
Separated by just a year in age, the sporting fates of Kambosos, 29, and Tszyu, 28, were all but secured from the moment the "tiny little kids" first laced on the gloves at the Kostya Tszyu Boxing Academy in Rockdale.
Tszyu's esteemed trainer, his uncle Igor Goloubev, not only tutored Kambosos in the art of the sweet science during those formative years but also chaperoned the teenager around the country while he chalked up 85 amateur wins before turning professional in 2011.
Goloubev remained in the Kambosos corner until the Sydney slayer pursued his own path to world-title glory through America four years ago.
While the two haven't always seen eye to eye since Kambosos went his separate way, he has huge respect for Tszyu's accomplishment in taking down American Tony Harrison on Sunday to claim his own version of a maiden world title.
Tszyu's victory set up an undisputed title showdown with Jermell Charlo in Las Vegas later this year, most likely in July.
"At the end of the day, regardless of the relationship that was and isn't today, it is very special to have had an undisputed champion in myself and now a interim WBO champion and in line to fight for the undisputed championship as well in Tim," Kambosos told AAP on Tuesday.
"We come from the same gym as young kids under the guidance of Igor. We both were taught from a young age with hard work and dedication that we could conquer the world.
"Countless rounds of sparring together and gruelling sessions as young kids I'm sure has helped both of us get to this point in boxing.
"I've been there and done it, won all the belts in America and brought them home, and now I'm on my journey to reclaim more world titles for Australia and I know Tim is chasing the same thing.
"So of course I support him regardless - and I hope he does too."
Throw in Kostya Tszyu's multiple global conquests and that's three world boxing champions hailing from the same humble gym.
After relinquishing his belts to American Devin Haney last year, Kambosos remains hopeful of rising again.
After much speculation, an official announcement that he will return to the ring in May to face highly-rated Brit Maxi Hughes in a IBF world title eliminator appears imminent.
"It's a great time in Australian boxing," Kambosos said.
"Hopefully it lands in Sydney."