Oleksandr Usyk reveals shocking details of his time fighting on the front line in Ukraine
Unified world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13KO) has revealed today to The Guardian that he lost 10 pounds in weight in a month fighting on the front line of Ukraine’s war with Russia.
The IBF, WBA and WBO world heavyweight champion puts his crown on the line fighting Anthony Joshua on Saturday aiming to prove he is the number one boxer on the planet.
And Usyk has linked up with the UK-based sports NFT platform Blockasset to help raise vital funds for his war-torn country back home. Blockasset is an exclusive digital artwork collection of 2,000 items in a bid to raise $2m for the Usyk Foundation which will support humanitarian aid for Ukrainians in need of medical care, shelter and food.
“It’s a great initiative,” Usyk says, “and the collection captures big moments in my career, like beating Anthony Joshua in London. They are totally unique assets to raise money for Ukraine.”
On weight loss fighting on the front line
“In the first month of the war I lost 10 pounds. But when I started preparing for this fight I quickly gained the weight and my team put in all this incredible work to strengthen my body. I don’t want to say a lot about the weight but the main thing is I feel incredibly fit and strong. You can see it in the gym but I am really going to prove this in the ring.”
On answering questions from his kids why the Russians want to kill them
“I explain to my kids that the Russians are trying to kill us because they are weak people. I also tell them this is the same reason why they are not going to win the war. We are stronger than them.”
On his daughter Yelizaveta’s 12th birthday being ruined by Russia invading on that day (Feb 24)
“It was the day she turned 12 and so of course she cried a bit. My wife spoke to her, explaining what had happened, and soon my daughter understood very well what we are all facing in Ukraine. It was difficult but she got it and the main thing is that she is safe now. She will be OK.”
On his kids watching his clash with AJ
“I really trust my kids and it is up to them if they see the fight. And even if I tell them they can’t watch they will probably do it anyway. I don’t want them to have to lie and say they didn’t watch. I want to keep that trusting relationship and be honest with them. I trust them to know what is best for them and whether or not they watch me fight.”
On fears the world is forgetting Ukraine’s plight
“I think some people are not doing enough to help Ukraine. Lots of people are trying to hide and just wait until the war ends and hope that it will not touch them. But it’s not possible because it will touch everybody somehow. All of us should pay attention to what is happening and do something.”
On his lowest time during the war
“The whole time has been really tough. I don’t want anyone to pity me but the toughest time was at the beginning of the war because I wasn’t with my family. Not being with my wife and children is the toughest for me. But I got through this because I prayed to God and I felt confident again.”
On his family home in Vorzel being broken into by Russian soldiers who used it as a base for a short time
“I have people rebuilding it, so everything is going to be OK.”
On why he will be even better second time round against AJ
“I am just going to box like it’s a normal fight, so I don’t know about Joshua. But I won’t be just as good as any other time I have fought. I will be better. With God’s help, after this fight, I will get back to my motherland, to Ukraine.”