Oleksandr Usyk hits and beats his opponents ‘with a heart full of love’, according to his promoter Alex Krassyuk.
The Ukrainian is an intriguing character in the sport of boxing, helped of course by an elite set of skills that have seen him undisputed cruiserweight champion and three quarters of the way to doing the same at heavyweight.
Speaking to Gareth A Davies, Krassyuk first gave an insight into his mindset as a fighter.
“When he comes to the ring, it’s his profession, so he has to fight and he has to win – but he doesn’t have to hate his opponent. He loves his opponent. He respects him.
With a full heart of love, he hits him according to the rules, but he doesn’t feel this anger. He doesn’t feel like he’s doing damage. His objective is to win, and the less damage he does to his opponent the better. This is his philosophy.”
From 20 fights, Usyk has 13 knockouts. Some argued that his power wouldn’t be enough to keep off the big heavyweights when he announced his move up, but he proved them wrong with a win over Derek Chisora followed by two over Anthony Joshua to win the unified titles.
After bamboozling ‘AJ’ in London, it appeared that a stoppage could be close when the Brit was backed up onto the ropes and Usyk landed at will. Ultimately, he heard the final bell.
Usyk says that how the fight ended was a conscious decision, according to his promoter.
“That’s why he explained he did not knock out Anthony Joshua in the twelfth round. He says ‘I’m winning on points. Why should his kids watch his father falling on the ring, when enough is done to get the victory?’
That’s his mindset.”
Now champion with no rematch obligations hanging over him, the Ukrainian is due to set about his first mandatory defence in Daniel Dubois. Should he win, as many expect, he’ll once again pursue an undisputed fight with Tyson Fury.