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US boxing ‘beast and beauty’ Alycia Baumgardner arrives in Aus to help bring down Tim Tszyu

Undisputed super featherweight queen Alycia Baumgardner has been branded the chief “motivator” for Tony Harrison, and may even be in his corner for Sunday’s hyped WBO world title blockbuster against Tim Tszyu, after quietly jetting into Sydney this week.

Less than a month after securing the biggest win of her own career, and with Harrison as head coach, Baumgardner has now arrived Down Under to join a US fight crew also boasting the fighter’s brother LJ Harrison, and hyped super welterweight prospect Charles Conwell.

Only last week, Tszyu’s manager Glen Jennings questioned why Conwell, who is also ranked top five in the division – and was initially approached by Team Tszyu for sparring – was even in Australia, stressing “they wouldn’t still be sparring this close to the fight” .

However, Fox Sports Australia can reveal both Harrison and Conwell have indeed continued sparring right into fight week, a tradition the former world champion’s head coach, and brother LJ, has followed from their late father, Ali.

According to LJ, Conwell has provided the perfect preparation for Tszyu, saying he brings even more pressure during sparring.

So what chance Baumgardner also now walks out with the American entourage inside Qudos Bank Arena?

“You know what, I haven’t decided that yet,” Harrison revealed overnight

“But regardless, you will see her in the crowd.

“Alycia will be there.

“And her winning the world titles the way she did, it’s given me all the motivation I need.”

Only last month inside Madison Square Garden, Baumgardner beat Elhem Mekhaled to claim all four super featherweight titles, telling the New York Post days prior: “I’m a beast in the ring and a beauty outside of the ring”.

The result was also a huge one for Harrison, who has taken over her coaching from his late father, who passed away from Covid in 2020.

However it is the presence this week of Conwell who has made for even bigger headlines, given Team Tszyu actually approached the 2016 Olympian for sparring when initially set to face undisputed division king Jermell Charlo.

“Charles is the most aggressive fighter I’ve ever seen in terms of head on pressure,” LJ Harrison explained this week.

“He actually brings more pressure than Tim.

“And I mean no discredit to Tszyu.

“But Charles is in your face the whole time. And he’s going to bang.

“He’s an Olympian too, so super slick, great defence, great combinations … he has everything we’re going to see with Tim.”

The coach also confirmed his brother had sparred early on in fight week.

“Crossing over the water like we have on that long flight, I have to make sure Tony has his sparring legs under him,” he said.

“I don’t want to be waiting until fight night to see those adjustments.

“So yeah, he’s definitely been sparring.

“And I know boxing is different to every other sport in the world, you can’t abuse your athletes.

“But I like them to keep them rhythm.

“I don’t want them sitting around four or five days.

“That’s something our dad taught us.

“It doesn’t have to be too many rounds, but if you’re fighting 12 rounds, then Monday or Tuesday you do six rounds to keep your legs, keep your rhythm.”

Harrison, the fighter, also revealed he was enjoying his coaching of Baumgardner, who twice knocked Mekhaled down in the third before eventually claiming a lopsided decision victory.

“I’m only now getting into the spotlight training Alycia,” he grinned.

“But I’ve been training for nine years.

“And I enjoy it.

“Enjoy when you tell people something and they understand, they get it.

“I definitely enjoy that more than getting punched in the face myself.”

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14/03/2023, by Jonathan Nixon