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"He never lost a bout for me," McCarthy said. "He had some skills from his father before he showed up in my gym." McCarthy described the young man as "very intelligent" and recalled that he also played classical piano.
In Kyrgyzstan, the former Soviet republic where the family lived before it moved to Dagestan, Leila Alieva, a former schoolmate, remembers an educated family and a nice boy.
Boxing trainer knew bomb suspect, slain officer
The dead Boston Marathon bombing suspect and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology officer allegedly killed by the suspect and his brother have links to the same boxing trainer.
Bob Covino co-founded the Somerville Boxing Club in the late 1970s. He says 26-year-old bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev trained at that gym several years ago. Covino says the MIT officer slain by the bombing suspects, Sean Collier, began volunteering with him at a gym in a different location in Somerville seven or eight months ago.
Covino says it’s very unlikely that the two men crossed paths, because he hasn’t seen Tsarnaev for several years and Collier only came over recently.
Covino says Collier had been helping teach younger boxers. The officer also set up a website for the gym.
"He was ... a good student, a jock, a boxer. He used to win all the (boxing) competitions in town," she said. "I can’t believe they were involved in the explosions, because Tamerlan was a very positive guy, and they were not very Islamist. They were Muslim, but had a secular lifestyle."
In a local news article in 2004, Tamerlan spoke about his boxing and his views of America.
"I like the USA," Tamerlan was quoted as saying in The Sun of Lowell, Mass. "America has a lot of jobs. That’s something Russia doesn’t have. You have a chance to make money here if you are willing to work."
Aunt says suspect recently became devout Muslim
An aunt of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects said Friday the older brother recently became a devout Muslim who prayed five times a day, and she doesn’t believe the brothers could have been involved in Monday’s attack.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev had married and had a 3-year-old daughter in the U.S., Maret Tsarnaeva told reporters in Toronto.
“He has a wife in Boston and from a Christian family, so you can’t tie it to religion,” she said. “At that age all they want is love, so he found his love, he married, he had a daughter, and he was very happy about his daughter.”
But she said the 26-year-old Tamerlan “seemingly did not find himself yet in America, because it’s not easy.”
Tsarnaeva said she wants proof the brothers are involved in the bombing.
“We’re talking about three dead people, 100-something injured, and I do not believe, I just do not believe our boys would do that ... I don’t know them in the way that they could be capable of this,” Tsarnaeva said.
She said her brother Anzor Tsarnaev had high expecations for his sons, especially Tamerlan.
She said her brother was desperate when he found out Tamerlan had dropped out of his university. She said he always demanded more of his children and said Tamerlan was his favorite.
Tamerlan wasn’t a devout practicing Muslim, “but just recently, maybe two years ago, he started praying five times a day,” she said.
Tsarnaeva called both boys smart and athletic.
“Within the family, everything was perfect because Anzor is a very loving, soft-hearted father. I don’t know what will happen to him,” she said.
She said her first reaction was anger because she could not understand why the brothers would be involved and what possible cause they would have. She said she called the FBI and asked for evidence and suggested they were set up.
Tsarnaeva said her brother’s family came to the United States in 2002 after she helped them apply for refugee status. She said the family also has two sisters who live in Boston.ple who are hurt.”
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