Oleksandr Usyk is preparing for the most significant professional fight of his life, but there’s one thing he will always feel is missing.
The Ukrainian master-boxer won Gold in the heavyweight category at the London Olympics back in 2012, and has recently spoken to TNT Sports about his heartbreak in the days that followed.
“We were on the way back from London and I was already in one of the cities in Ukraine. Three more days and I would have been leaving but I was waiting for a supercar to arrive. I wanted to bring it with me and show him what a cool car I had. My mom called me at 3AM and told me [the news].
“When I arrived, he had already been lying in the wooden box [coffin]. I put down my bag, handed him the medal, held it like this with his dead arm and went out of the room.”
Perhaps spurred on by the love for his late father, Usyk turned professional and became undisputed in a tough cruiserweight division.
Five fights into his campaign at heavyweight and he’s the unified champion, just one step away from winning the fourth belt and making history.
His father’s memory remains with him on the road to doing so, and he says that the man ‘watches over him’ during his most significant moments.
“When I was standing among these superstars. I spoke to Lennox Lewis, Mike Tyson, all these stars. I was thinking about my dad and I thanked him. I knew he was watching down on me.”
“Sometimes, he comes to me the day before a fight. And smiles … He would say that [he was proud of me.]”
— Boxing on TNT Sports (@boxingontnt) November 3, 2023
Usyk will face Tyson Fury in early 2024 to become the first sole heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis over two decades ago. Should he do so, he cements himself as one of the best fighters to ever lace up the gloves.