Boxing - Boston bomb suspect 'wanted to box for US at Olympics'

Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the suspects in the Boston marathon bombing, was a keen boxer who hoped to represent the US at the Olympics.

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Boxing - Boston bomb suspect 'wanted to box for US at Olympics'
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Tamerlan Tsarnaev

Tamerlan, along with his brother Dzhokhar, were identified as the two key suspects in the act of terrorism. Tamerlan was shot dead and Dzhokhar captured by armed officers on Friday.

In the clamour for information on the duo, a photo journal of the Chechnyan-born Tamerlan’s boxing career has emerged. The pictures show him competing at the Golden Gloves amateur heavyweight boxing competition in Salt Lake City in 2009.

According to the captions on the pictures, his hope was to do well enough so that he could win a US passport.

“Unless his native Chechnya becomes independent, Tamerlan says, he would rather compete for the United States than for Russia,” reads one caption.

“I don’t have a single American friend,” he added. “I don’t understand them.”

Under the title ‘Will Box for Passport’ the pictures also appeared in a magazine for a Boston student publication in 2010.

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Daniel Essrow, who designed the page, added that he had been training for the US Olympic boxing team.

At that point, Tamerlan described himself as “very religious”, and had forsworn alcohol and nicotine.

Another caption reads: “Tamerlan says he doesn’t smoke or drink anymore. ‘God said no alcohol.’ A Muslim, he says, ‘There are no values anymore,’ and worries that ‘people can’t control themselves'.”

Professional super middleweight Evan Rodriguez sparred with Tamerlan at Wai Kru Mixed Martial Arts in Boston in 2010, and told Yahoo! Sports: “We had a baby born on Monday, which was April 15, and we were in the hospital that day, watching the news about the bombing at the marathon.

“It’s a strange feeling to know I sparred with this guy and knew him and talked with him. It’s not like we were friends, but we talked and had conversations. It is strange. It’s hard now, knowing what this coward did, to even think about it. He affected so many people, so many families. My heart just goes out to them.

“He had a little bit of a swagger to him, a real cocky kind of attitude, and he was dressed in a little of what I’d call a military look. He wasn’t wearing military clothing, but he had the high boots and the pants tucked in and it looked like a military style."

Former UFC fighter John Howard also trained with Tamerlan at Wai Kru Mixed Martial Arts in Boston.

He told Yahoo! Sports: “It’s weird, but I used to spar with this guy. In one sparring session, I broke his nose and dropped him with a body shot. I must have apologised to him 20 or 30 times. Now that I think of it, I wish I kept hitting him because what happened to those people was unfair and wasn’t right. But the chaos is over for now. His brother is in custody and he’s dead."

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