At the end of the week, the most anticipated boxing fight of the year is coming. On August 20 (Saturday), Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua will hold a rematch in which several heavyweight belts will be at stake.
In the first fight between the two, the Ukrainian created a sensation, defeating the British giant easily and beautifully. Usyk won by unanimous decision, and now he hopes to do the same.
But will he succeed against the highly motivated Joshua, who claims to have learned the necessary lessons from the first fight?
In anticipation of the big game, let’s recall some interesting facts about Oleksandr Usyk.
The future heavyweight and super heavyweight champion was born in the Crimean city of Simferopol. However, until the age of 12, Alexander lived with his mother in the village of Ribotin, located in the Chernigov region.
After returning to Simferopol, the boy began to play sports actively. It is curious that Usyk first took up judo, and then football. In the meantime, he also tried his hand at sports dancing. He started boxing only at the age of 15, but with his innate talent he quickly caught up and began to trample his peers.
Alexander discovered God in infancy.
The would-be fighter miraculously survives after being kicked in the head by a horse. His mother took him to church to give thanks to the Almighty and he has been a strong believer ever since. By the way, Alexander’s best friend is another Orthodox boxer – Vasily Lomachenko. The athletes meet at competitions as teenagers, and their friendship begins at a later stage. Support before fights, visits and even mutual baptisms of children – Usyk and Lomachenko are like brothers.
Contrary to expectations, Alexander’s favorite title is not one of his many championship belts won in various divisions.
The Ukrainian appreciates the gold medal he won from the Olympics in London in 2012 the most.
“I consider the Olympic gold the highest achievement of my career. There is nothing more valuable to me right now, including my heavyweight belts or the ones I have at super heavyweight. Maybe if I can unify all the heavyweight titles and win all four belts, then I will think about what is more important: the Olympic gold or the four in question,” Usyk said recently in an interview.
By the way, Alexander recently made his debut in football, playing for Polesie (Zhytomyr) in the match against Veres from the program of the friendly tournament “Winter Cup”, which was held in Belek, Turkey. The boxer demonstrated enviable skills, showing everything he was taught in football school as a child.
But Usyk does not dream of a career as a football player. His old childhood dream is more naive and pure.
“I dream of impossible things. I love the movie Aladdin and I want to find the lamp so I can rub it and meet this cool genie. With his help I would destroy all the weapons in the world and remove the money.”
We recall that in September of last year, Usyk dethroned Anthony Joshua from the top of the heavyweight professionals, after taking away the belts in the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO versions.
He pulled out of rematch talks a few months ago to return to Ukraine and fight for his country in the war against Russia. Usyk volunteered for the army, but subsequently left the country specifically to prepare for the fight with Joshua and represent Ukraine on the world stage.