Kostya Tszyu, the Soviet-born Aussie boxing legend is not onboard with the fact that Khabib Nurmagomedov is being considered to be adorned as a ‘Hero of Russia’ and believes the MMA icon has not done enough to earn the prestigious distinction.
Khabib Nurmagomedov is one of the biggest names in the world of sports in present times and to many, the recently retired UFC Lightweight champion is the greatest mixed artist of all time. With an unblemished streak of 29 wins and zero losses, the two-time combat sambo world champion is also the number one fighter in 1 in the UFC men’s pound-for-pound rankings.
A shining star in UFC and an idol in his country, the 32-year-old Dagestani was hailed as a role model for the Russian youth, by Russian MP Gadzhumurat Omarov in a letter to President Vladimir Putin.
“Such guys as Khabib are decent role models for young people, every generation should have its idols,” Omarov had written in the letter.
However, Kostya Tszyu is not really fond of the ongoing talks of bestowing Khabib with the award, even though the boxer did not dispute the MMA icon’s achievements.
Khabib’s achievements are incomparable to a Hero of Russia: Kostya Tszyu
Speaking in an interview with Russian sports media outlet Sport24, Tszyu expressed his dissent over the idea of awarding Khabib the title.
“Hero of Russia? What for? Honorary master of sports, yes, no doubt, he deserves it. But the title of Hero of Russia… I don’t understand,” said Tszyu.
“No matter how much I respect him for what he has done, these things are incomparable,” the former pugilist added.
The Hero of the Russian Federation title is the highest honorary title in Russia. Established on 20th March 1992, the award is the successor to the former ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ distinction.
According to Tszyu, the coveted title is fit for someone in services such as soldiers and firefighters, who sacrifice themselves to save the country and the lives of others, which is not something Khabib has done.
The 51-year-old went on, “To me a hero is a person who sacrifices his life for other people. Fire fighters, military men who save others. Maybe there is some sort of gradation. Of course, Khabib has achieved a lot in sport, nobody questions that. But he performs in a commercial sport where he earns money. This does not quite fit the title (Hero of Russia.)”
Born in Soviet Russia, Kostya Tszyu is widely regarded as one of the greatest light-welterweight boxers of all time. He clinched golds in the 1991 World Amateur Boxing Championships as well as 1991 European Amateur Boxing Championships.
Nicknamed ‘Thunder from Down Under’, Tszyu has held multiple undisputed and lineal titles. In 1993, he became a citizen of Australia and represented the country until his retirement in 2005.