Boxing Coach: Tamerlan Tsarnaev Was “Arrogant, Disdainful”

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 19 2013 1:10 PM

Boxing Coach: Tamerlan Tsarnaev Was “Arrogant, Disdainful”

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Tamerlan Tsarnaev, right, in thisimage released by the FBI on April 19, 2013.

Photo provided by FBI via Getty Images

Details have emerged that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the younger brother and wanted suspect, was "really nice," while less is known of the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who is believed to have been more radicalized. Here is an account of the other suspected bomber from Douglas Yoffe (my brother), the Harvard Boxing Club coach.

Emily Yoffe Emily Yoffe

Emily Yoffe is a regular Slate contributor. She writes the Dear Prudence column. 

"I met him almost 10 years ago, I was down at one of the boxing gyms and he was boxing. He was a teenager and I said. "Who's that?"  I remember watching him and thinking this kid has a lot of talent and he was very cool. They said he was just starting out and he had only had had a couple of fights. He was fighting in a division for people who'd had less than 10 fights.  I expressed my doubts he'd had fewer fights than that. I said he must have had some fights in Russia, he was too polished for such a young kid. He was very relaxed, very smooth in the ring. The more you box you more relaxed you get. Most people when they're starting out, that's the last thing you would say they are. But when you've had a lot of fights, you can relax. He had his own coach from Russia or Chechnya. He became a good amateur boxer. He was a tough kid, but he was deceptive looking -- he didn't look like a tough guy. But he did have an arrogant, disdainful attitude. He didn't interact, and most of the other kids are pretty friendly."

On Friday, the Salt Lake Tribune found 2009 a photograph of Tamerlan Tsarnaev boxing at the National Golden Gloves boxing tournament in Utah. He was also, they report, training to compete in this year's tournament in the state. Here's the Tribune, explaining more about what that means: 

"Tsarnaev would have to have been an accomplished boxer to have made it to Salt Lake City. He would have emerged from the New England Region, which includes Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine."
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This post has been updated with new information.

Abby Ohlheiser contributed to this report.

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