‘If the king of the jungle was determined by size, it would be the elephant. But it’s the tiger:’ Meet Oleksandr Usyk, the budding actor vowing to takeover the heavyweight division after taking care of Derek Chisora
- Oleksandr Usyk is bidding to take a big step in a showdown with Anthony Joshua
- The Ukrainian takes on veteran heavyweight Derek Chisora on Saturday night
- DelBoy has weighed in three stone heavier than the former cruiserweight champ
- Usyk, however, says that his sharpness will come to the fore at Wembley Arena
Oleksandr Usyk sat in a full-orange tracksuit and warned his heavyweight rivals: if the king of the jungle was determined by size, it would be the elephant. ‘But now it’s a tiger.’
The Ukrainian southpaw plans to conquer the land of the giants, starting against Derek Chisora at Wembley Arena on Saturday night.
Victory would cement his place as mandatory challenger to Anthony Joshua’s WBO title. But concerns linger as to whether the former undisputed cruiserweight king can compete with big boys such as Joshua and Tyson Fury.
Oleksandr Usyk is out to prove his heavyweight credentials as he bids for Anthony Joshua bout
The former unified cruiserweight king takes on Derek Chisora at Wembley Arena on Saturday
‘You know in history, David and Goliath?’ Usyk responded. ‘That’s the first thing.’ ‘Second of all, if the tsar (king) of the animals would be (decided) by weight and by size, it would be the elephant. But now it’s a tiger.’ Should he fulfil his dream of unifying the heavyweight division, Usyk hopes to take on Hollywood – he is an fledgling actor and his favourite movie is Hacksaw Ridge.
Until then, he enjoys a peaceful existence on the outskirts of Kiev.
‘About six months ago I moved out of town to a private house and somebody gave me a present: a dog (called Mister Grey),’ he said.
Usyk could become WBO mandatory but questions linger as to his heavyweight credentials
‘My oldest son wakes up, the very first in the family, right after me. I wake up, then him. So we do 30 minutes exercise every morning together.
‘After that, the rest of the family wake up – my wife – and then we have breakfast. Then we take the dog for a walk. Sometimes it can take hours, two hours, we don’t do anything. I give my time to my family, to my kids. I give time for myself we don’t do anything, we just live.’ Even within the hotel ‘bubble’, Usyk’s check-list points to a man of simple pleasures.
‘Everywhere I go, I take with me my prayer book and I take a few small (religious) icons,’ he said. ‘Every time I come to the hotel room, I put them on the top shelf where I can see them all the time. It’s a very beautiful place and the first thing when I come, I always say my prayers to thank God that we made it safely and we’re in the hotel and we’re going to the next step.
The Ukrainian hopes that a win over Chisora can cement his spot to challenge AJ’s title
‘They always go with me everywhere, no matter where I’m going.’ Usyk will hope it’s a formula that carries him to huge fights with AJ and Fury. The British rivals have agreed the basis of a two-fight deal but Usyk is not convinced they will take place. ‘They joke,’ he smiled.
First, though, the 33-year-old southpaw must come through Chisora and avoid the sort of upset which befell his close friend Vasiliy Lomachenko a few weeks back.
Pound-for-pound king Lomachenko was beaten by Teofimo Lopez.
‘I didn’t show my emotions, I just sat in the car in the morning and I went straight to church,’ Usyk revealed. ‘I thanked God that we are alive, we are breathing, we are surviving and I thanked him for everything that is waiting for us at home – our children, our wives. Waiting for us and I know they were waiting for him.
‘But to tell you, he’s a warrior. He didn’t lose. He’s just going to change his ammunition and he’s going to go back stronger. You don’t even understand how strong he is.’