Heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk highlighted Ukraine’s Cossack heritage ahead of his battle to retain his world title against Britain’s Anthony Joshua, whose career would be in jeopardy if they lost on Saturday in Jeddah.
Soutenu par des millions d’Ukrainiens aux vies bouleversées par la guerre, favori des parieurs, Usyk met en jeu en Arabie saoudite ses ceintures de champion du monde des poids lourds WBA, IBF et WBO, conquises il ya un con an à Londres 32 years. A victory achieved by points by unanimous decision.
The massive Joshua (1.98m vs. 1.91m for Usyck), the former Olympic heavyweight champion with 24 professional wins and 2 losses, was trained for a few months by the famous Robert Garcia in order to develop a more aggressive style.
During Friday’s boxers’ weigh-in, Joshua showed 10 kg more than his opponent on the scale (110.9 kg for Joshua versus 100.5 kg for Usic).
These figures are similar to those of their fight in London last year, contradicting rumors of the Ukrainian being incriminated in order to take on his opponent.
Usyk, 35, looked much calmer than his opponent during the pre-match conference on Wednesday. He wore a traditional costume, shaved his head except for a Cossack-style lock, and sang a Ukrainian patriotic song in front of the press from all over the world.
The fight will be broadcast exceptionally for free in Ukraine. More motivation for Usyk, who served as a volunteer in the Ukrainian army in February before accepting a rematch.
Promoter Alexander Krasyuk stressed the enormous support Ukrainians give Usyk: “He was in contact with senior military personnel, visited hospitals and met with wounded soldiers. Every time he was asked to fight for this rematch. People wanted him to fight. “
At the press conference, Usek continued his display of dexterity testing, throwing four coins out of his hand and grabbing them one by one before they hit the ground.
‘like a robot’
The Ukrainian left-hander’s preparation was no less exciting: he cycled 100 km in 45 degrees, swam for five consecutive hours, and was in respiratory arrest for 4 minutes and 45 seconds until he nearly lost consciousness, said his manager Aegis Klemas. .
“Looks like a cyborg. Promoter Alexander Krasuk said of Usyk, who has had an impressive career in the amateur world and is unbeaten in 19 professional fights.
Joshua has been very upfront about his strategy, but is expected to try to impose his fitness and reach a smaller opponent whose speed and variety of shots confused him last September.
The Briton denied rumors of a possible retirement in the event of defeat, but admitted he could not afford the third failure of his career.
“I have to win,” Joshua said, “It was hard to prepare, but I like the pressure.
Saudi Arabia had already smiled at the Watford native, during his revenge against Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr in December 2019. The latter had been beaten by K.-O. A few months before that, he announced the first defeat of the Briton in his professional career.
Unknown in the fight is the weight gain of Usik, the unified world lightweight champion, who is said to have gained 15kg of muscle, which gave him more strength but created the risk of reducing his speed, a major asset during the fight. First fight.
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