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  Mar. 23, 2000



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Tony Kozina: A champion year


By SAM 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 its not even April yet.


Tony Kozina
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 hed 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 tapings.

Luckily, Kozina doesnt 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 hes 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 harder."

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!"

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