Oleksandr Usyk lost 10 kg in just one week after Russia invaded Ukraine | Boxing | sport
Anthony Joshua gives insight into his fight with Oleksandr Usyk
Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua will square off in the ring on Saturday as the two heavyweights battle it out for the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO titles. The rematch comes 11 months after the pair’s initial clash, which saw Joshua lose by unanimous decision and Usyk take the belts in the Watford-born boxer’s backyard. Now Joshua is looking to regain the titles for the second time in his career as he takes on the undefeated Ukrainian.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest Ukrainian boxers of all time, Usyk gradually rose through the ranks to become one of only three boxers to unify the heavyweight division and become world heavyweight champion.
Usyk, who is also called Sasha, was born in the Crimean town of Simferopol but now lives with his family in Kyiv.
Last April, he was stripped of his Crimean honors after enlisting in the Ukrainian Territorial Army.
Months earlier he had returned to his home country, having traveled to London for a football match, to register with the Kyiv Territorial Defense after Russia carried out a full-scale invasion .
READ MORE: What Anthony Joshua told his team about Oleksandr Usyk rematch
Oleksandr Usyk’s wife has revealed he lost 10kg in just a week after Russia invaded Ukraine.
Usyk will face Anthony Joshua on Saturday.
The boxer was so crushed by the devastating news that Vladimir Putin had led an invasion of Ukraine that he lost 10kg in a week.
Usyk’s wife claimed he dropped a stone and a half in seven days after Putin continued his war against Ukraine on February 24.
Kateryna, who has been married to Usyk for almost 13 years, told PravdaTUT: “Sasha lost 10 kilograms in a week of war. He was so horrified, in such shock, he was so torn.
“He saw what I was doing. I said, ‘Sasha, please, people are asking, you have to speak, somehow support.
Mapping of Ukrainian territorial disputes.
“It’s very difficult for him. At first he digested it inside. Well, first of all, let’s be honest, we’ve never been in such a situation before.
“Our whole generation could never have imagined this. There you go, a shock.
“To be honest, he doesn’t really like giving interviews in normal times, in peacetime anyway. Now it’s hard for him, of course, but he’s still on the air, say something .”
She continued: “His position is clear. He has always been for Ukraine, he has always glorified it and will glorify it as long as he has enough health and strength.
“Now he understands how important for him, let’s say, even the next fight.
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Oleksandr Usyk dethroned Anthony Joshua at the Tottenham Hostpur Stadium last September.
“For him, every fight is important, but now when blood is flowing in your country, you want to glorify Ukraine, you want to be proud of it.
“I’m so proud to be from Ukraine, to be Ukrainian! Thank God it happened.
Usyk, 35, put his career on hold to return to his home country and join the Ukrainian army.
He was one of the athletes, including the Ukrainian national football team who took part in World Cup qualifiers abroad, who eventually got special dispensation to leave Ukraine.
The heavyweight was initially training in Poland but was also pictured training in Dubai.
He will return to the ring for the first time since the start of the invasion when he fights Joshua in Jeddah.
Usyk will aim to defend his boxing titles.
Asked about the situation in Ukraine previously, Usyk said: “‘My friends – people close to me – died in the war’, dismissing a suggestion that it would give him extra motivation to beat Joshua again.
He continued: “When so many people are hurting, I have no idea how it can positively influence anything.
“I stayed there for a month: I saw with my own eyes what happened there, rockets flying and fighter jets flying. It’s horrible.
“Every day I was there I was praying and saying, ‘Please God, don’t let anyone try to kill me. Please don’t let anyone shoot me. And s ‘please don’t make me shoot another person.’
“I really didn’t want to leave our country. I didn’t want to leave our town. At one point I went to the hospital where soldiers were injured and being rehabilitated and they asked me to go, to to beat [Joshua] for the country.
“They said, ‘If you go there, you will help our country even more instead of fighting inside Ukraine.'”