Standing 5’5” tall, featherweight boxer Sandy “Lil Tyson” Tsagouris is a force of nature to be reckoned with in the ring. Trained by Billy Martin, Tsagouris is on destiny’s doorstep as she trains for her upcoming bout in Ottawa in January for the interim Women’s International Boxing Association World Featherweight title,
against Colombian Francia Elena Bravo.
Tsagouris was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She has two older brothers, Nick and Tony. Tsagouris, one of the top female boxers in the world, was very athletic in high school. She actively participated in every sport available, winning Athlete of the Year honors in a variety of different sports. It almost seemed like it was just a matter of time before she found her way into boxing.
While in grade school, representatives from a nearby boxing gym came to her school and put her class through a boxing workout. One of the trainers there that day told her Tsagouris that she had a great right hand and asked her if she had any previous boxing experience? Tsagouris thought since she had tried and excelled at every other sport, why not give boxing a try.
Tsagouris grew up watching boxing’s biggest PPV fights throughout the 1990’s, considered to be a golden decade for pro boxing. Tsagouris recalls, “I remember watching the Oscar De La Hoya-Felix Trinidad fight late one night when I was young and I was impressed with how incredibly fast they both were.”
Tsagouris’s love of Mike Tyson’s fighting style is evident in her own ring make-up. She always comes forward and stalks her opponent in a take-no-prisoners style that has proven to be very successful for her.
Tsagouris is not only, a world ranked fighter, she is also a devoted mom to a beautiful daughter named Celina. Tsagouris often jokes that her daughter “is practically being raised in the gym. She comes with me everyday whether I’m here to train or to work. People at the gym knew her before she was even born so it’s a great atmosphere for her.” It’s not easy being a full-time mother and elite level athlete, as Tsagouris recently noted, “Celina does get restless being at the gym all of the time, which makes it tough on me. Even I get a bit restless sometimes.”
Tsagouris has always had one long-term boxing goal emblazoned in her soul. That is, of course, to win the women’s WBC featherweight world title. There are few if any people in boxing who believe her goal won’t come true.
Most boxing observers believe that the toughest fight to date for Tsagouris was her epic battle with Australia’s Shannon O’Connell. Tsagouris respects that opinion but politely disagrees. However, she does believe that the O’Connell fight brought out a side of her that she was not even aware she possessed. In that bout, O’Connell dropped Tsagouris with a hard shot to the head.
Tsagouris got up, gathered her wits and came back at O’Connell even stronger than before. Her ability to recover from the knockdown and then fight back ferociously proved to Tsagouris that boxing was what she was born to do. It is, in essence, her reason for being. It also strengthened her love for the sport.
Tsagouris believes each fight is tough for very different reasons. For instance, sometimes there are injuries for her to overcome or perhaps training camp didn’t go as smoothly as planned. Also, like in any other field of endeavor, life, as it often does, just gets in the way.
Tsagouris credits her coach Martin for doing “A great job of preparing me for my opponents.” Tsagouris confesses she rarely knows anything about her opponents but when fight time approaches, she begins to watch whatever footage is available on them. All Tsagouris knows about her Women’s IBA featherweight title shot in January is that her opponent Bravo, will be tough, ready and battle tested. Tsagouris will be in shape and ready for whatever Bravo throws at her.
Most pro fighters dread training camp. Tsagouris is different in that sense by her own admission, “I fight because I love to train. I love to see just how far I can push myself. I love to see the physical results so I would love to fight until I’ve won a world title.” Tsagouris feels strongly that she deserves that world title and she would love to win it for her coach who has put a lot of time and effort in preparing her for all of her bouts. Most boxing insiders feel that come January, Sandy “Lil Tyson” Tsagouris will be the very next Canadian boxer to become a world champion. And, there is no doubt in the boxing community that she deserves it.