Tony Kozina: A champion year
HALSALL -- For SLAM! Wrestling
When you talk about the hardest-working man in the indies today, you
have to be talking about 'Tornado' Tony Kozina. This rising star has
had the kind of year many wrestlers can only dream of -- and it’s not
even April yet.
Tony Kozina. Courtesy ECCW.
On January 1st, when the big ball dropped in Times Square, Kozina was
already the NWA Canadian Junior Heavyweight Champion, a belt he’d won in
Manitoba some months earlier. But the fans of the NWA saw potential in
the Tornado, and the message board at NWA-Wrestling.com was flooded with
fans -- some of whom had never seen Kozina in action -- demanding that
he be given a shot at the next level.
On January 14, 2000, that chance would come, and Tony Kozina would
make the most of it, winning the NWA World Junior Heavyweight Title from
'Big Time' Vince Kaplack in Pittsburgh, PA.
Kozina realized immediately that with his new title came certain
responsibilities and pressure. "After winning the NWA World Jr.
Heavyweight title, I feel as though I now have to prove myself all over
again, show that I deserve this title and bring this championship the
recognition that it has had in the years before."
Toward that end, Kozina began touring as much as possible. Besides
Canada, where he works for the B.C.-based Extreme Canadian Championship
Wresting, Kozina has been through Mexico and the United States, and has
even flown over to the United Kingdom for a series of television
Luckily, Kozina doesn’t mind. "I LOVE the travelling. I hope to
drive across North America sometime this year. It would be such fun.
Flying is a bit spooky for me, but I'm getting used to it. I have seen
some incredible sights in this world, and I haven't been very far. I
look forward to every trip I take."
And he’s getting a lot of support from those closest to him. "My
family is extremely supportive. My girlfriend, Chris, has been there
through thick and thin and it's made our relationship very strong. It
does get hard sometimes being gone a lot. It's hard to plan a family
vacation -- even a weekend, you know? We take it when we can, and it
makes it that much better. That support encourages me to work even
Working so much so far away from home, Kozina has very little time
off. What he does have, he tends to treasure. "I spend a lot of time
with my family, because my time at home is quite short a lot of times.
I also really enjoy playing my drum kit. I have a huge home stereo set
up around my kit and I play to my CD's."
So with all this success in the past year, what does Kozina predict
for the future? "In five years, I will have met the people that you
need to meet to get into the big leagues, and they will know who I am.
I won't forecast big money contracts, or even a WrestleMania opening
match. But I will work like hell to be the very best I can be.
Wherever it leads to, and whatever happens is anyone's guess and that's
what makes this adventure so wonderful!"