Unified heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk has revealed that his unique approach to fighting is heavily influenced by having watched one of Britain’s most celebrated fighters when he was an amateur.
The Ukrainian southpaw is known for his busy hands, busy feet, and fluid approach to fighting. He dances around the ring, and it’s a style that led him to Olympic gold, all four of the world cruiserweight titles, the Muhammad Ali Trophy in the World Boxing Super Series and now three of the four major belts at heavyweight.
Usyk is one of only three men next to Evander Holyfield and David Haye to have unified the cruiserweight titles and then held a belt at heavyweight.
Speaking to BT Sport Boxing, he told Steve Bunce how he copied the movement of ‘Prince’ Naseem Hamed.
“When we were amateurs we copied his movements. We were under pressure in the gym because we were not allowed to do so. They told us it looked like we were losing our focus, losing our concentration, that we were out of control. But I kept doing it even during competitions.”
When Bunce later relays the news to ‘Prince Nas’, he laughs.
“Who’s going be able to copy them moves?”
There is no doubt that Usyk is one of the most mobile and tricky heavyweights to have ever stepped in the ring. Next up he does so against Daniel Dubois in Poland for the second defence of his three world titles.
His ultimate goal remains an undisputed clash with Tyson Fury, though the relationship between the two teams remains fractious while Fury heads off to fight former MMA champion Francis Ngannou.