He’s been labelled the “Russian Jake Paul” who moved to Australia because of his country’s war with Ukraine, and Sergey Vorobiev is gunning for Nikita Tszyu.
The 19-1 Vorobiev is an online star in Russia after amassing more than 144,000 subscribers and 21 million views on YouTube since 2019.
But, with the war grinding everything to a standstill in Russia, he travelled to Australia in search of fights.
He faces a tough fight against Wade Ryan on the undercard to Tim Tszyu’s WBO world title defence this weekend, but Vorobiev is already targeting some of the biggest names in Australian boxing after sparring with both Tszyu brothers.
“It was a very good spar with Nikita,” Vorobiev told this masthead. “Nikita has good pressure…but a lot of misses. Sorry.”
Tszyu says the session was one of the toughest he’s ever had, and wants to rectify it in a real fight.
“He gave me a really tough sparring session,” Tszyu said. “Him and Dylan (Biggs, who Tszyu will fight on November 22), are the two people who really made me think about tactics.
“These kinds of things stick with you. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I know I’ve gotta get the better of him.”
Vorobiev is only too happy to oblige.
“Nikita Tszyu wants to fight with me? Really? If Nikita wants a fight with me, Nikita, I will break you,” he said, adding: “This is business. It’s business. I don’t care where, I don’t care when.”
His coach, Tony del Vecchio backs him up.
“He was sparring the likes of Mateo Tapia and held his own, he sparred Nikita Tszyu and you can see what he says about that,” del Vecchio told this masthead. “He went a couple of rounds with Tim and I think Tim gave him a couple of hard rounds to begin with, but towards the end there was mutual admiration.
“But the guy’s a machine. He’s a beast.”
Del Vecchio believes Vorobiev will be an Aussie fan favourite in no time.
“He’s the Russian Jake Paul, he’s got a massive YouTube channel and he’s extremely famous, but believe me, this boy can really fight,” he said. “He came into the gym and he’s just one of us.
“His sense of humour, it’s ridiculous how Australian he is. A lot of Russians – and even Nikita and Tim to a degree – are very reserved, but Sergei’s not. He’s enigmatic.”
After a promising amateur career, Vorobiev fought all of his 20 professional bouts in Russia or Uzbekistan, with his solitary loss against a future welterweight world title challenger.
Now living in Revesby, Vorobiev hasn’t had a fight in more than a year, and is looking to kickstart his career in Australia.
“Nothing’s happening in Russia, there are no shows, no fights, and they were looking to get something done,” del Vecchio said. “So he came here.
“I asked him if he wanted to stay in Australia and he said, ‘It’s my dream to stay, nothing is happening in Russia’, so I managed to get him a visa. He needs to stay here.
“He realised he needed a sea change, and we’re able to do things for him here.
“He’s a great boxer, a great person, he’s a larrikin. He might as well be an Aussie.”
He faces a tough task this Sunday against veteran scrapper Wade Ryan.
Ryan was the first person to drop Tim Tszyu in a fight in 2017 as Tszyu was in the very early stages of his professional career.
He’s since been involved in some of the most exciting bouts on Aussie soil against Koen Mazoudier and Troy O’Meley.
“I know Wade Ryan is tough,” Vorobiev said. “He has a good left hand. It’s very serious, it’s a good fight and very important to me.”
Originally published as Tszyu vs Mendoza news: Sergey Vorobiev, YouTube’s ‘Russian Jake Paul’, calls out Nikita Tszyu