Oleksandr Usyk: “I Cannot Stop Thinking About The War”

Oleksandr Usyk Hopes Fight Preparations Will Overshadow Thoughts of War

Oleksandr Usyk with a somber expression
Oleksandr Usyk | Credit: AFP via Getty Images

Oleksandr Usyk Speaks on the Mental Challenges Caused by the War in Ukraine


As 3Kings Boxing previously reported, unified heavyweight champ Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) is back in training, preparing for his rematch with the man he beat for the titles, Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs). Although the champ is set to return to the ring, Usyk has plenty on his mind outside of it.

His home country of Ukraine is in the middle of a war with Russia. The situation was so serious that Usyk decided to pick up arms and join the Kyiv Territorial Defense. After deciding to go ahead and fight AJ, the 35-year-old sat down with media source Blockasset to talk about current events in his homeland. Speaking publicly for the first time since deciding to leave his war-torn nation, Usyk discussed what led him to go back and fight.

THE EFFECTS OF WAR

“It was 5 AM when I received a message from my wife in which she informed me that the war started. I understood that Ukraine would close its airspace to civilian flights. We flew to Poland. In Poland, we were met at the airport by our friend. He drove us to the Polish-Ukrainian border.

I was gutted, I could not understand what was going on, but when I got home and saw my family, my kids and my wife, my loved ones, I felt a bit better.”

Fellow boxer Vasyl Lomachenko and other athletes also traveled back home to fight for their people. Usyk said he was fortunate he wasn’t on the receiving end of much actual combat. He was able to see his family and friends, which gave him much comfort but acknowledged that friends had been killed, and relatives’ homes were destroyed. Given the present circumstances, he considers boxing mere child’s play. War, he said, is something he does not wish on anyone.

After consulting with former heavyweight champions Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko, Usyk believes it’s time to focus on the second fight with Joshua. Then afterward, a possible fight with WBC champion Tyson Fury.

BACK TO BUSINESS

“Next, I have to workout thoroughly during my training period in order to be able to show my best performance. To show all that I can. After the rematch with Anthony Joshua, we could start talking about the Tyson Fury fight.

In other words, now I want to concentrate as much as possible on my preparation because at the moment, I cannot stop thinking about the war, about my friends in Ukraine, and I have to get rid of such thoughts as much as possible in order to be prepared well for the Joshua fight and be able to glorify again.”

A lot is on his plate. One must wonder, with so much on his mind, will Usyk be 100% dialed in? That’s the question on the minds of many fans and pundits and can only be answered once he’s back in the ring.

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By: Michael Wilson Jr.

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About Mike W.2033 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.