Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon bombing suspect
who was killed Thursday night while attempting to evade authorities, was an amateur boxer who considered boxing for the U.S. Olympic team at one point.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, who is believed to be of Chechen heritage
, reportedly emigrated to the U.S. in 2002 from Kyrgyzstan with his family.
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In January 2004, after winning a Lowell, Mass., Golden Gloves fight in the 178-pound novice class, Tsarnaev
told the Lowell Sun newspaper he appreciated all the opportunities in America.
"I like the USA . . . America has a lot of jobs. That's something Russia doesn't have," Tsarnaev told the Lowell Sun. "You have a chance to make money here if you are willing to work."
Tsarnaev continued his boxing career after his Golden Gloves victory
, ESPN reported.
Tsarnaev went on to win the prestigious Rocky Marciano trophy as the New England heavyweight champion a number of years later, the Lowell Sun reported.
In 2009 and 2010, Tsarnaev represented Team New England in the National Golden Gloves Tournament of Champions, ESPN reported.
"If you had asked me two days before this happened what kind of person he was, I would say terrific, talented, respectful," John Curran, Tsarnaev's former boxing coach, told the Lowell Sun. "Suffice to say, I am shocked beyond belief today."
According to Curran, Tsarnaev was "a perfect physical specimen" who could walk "50 yards on his hands with boxing gloves on."
As for his fighting style, Curran said Tsarnaev was a typical "European-style fighter."
"No bobbing and weaving, anything like that," said Curran. "He stood straight up and took the fight to the opponent."
Curran said he could not comprehend how Tsarnaev committed the acts he is now being accused of.
"Just flabbergasted that this young man was having these kind of thoughts," Curran added. "He just got lost. Got lost somewhere."
Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, are the prime suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings Monday that killed three and injured more than 150 people.
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After reportedly killing an MIT police officer and hurling explosives at authorities during a car chase with police Thursday night, Tsarnaev was killed when officials caught up with him.
Authorities are still searching for Tsarnaev's brother Dzhokhar as of Friday afternoon.
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