Oleksandr Usyk reveals close shave with death, discusses potential Tyson Fury bout
Oleksandr Usyk, with an unbeaten record of 20-0, is widely regarded as one of the best boxers around. He has recently spoken about his journey in sports and his desire to take on Tyson Fury in a potential unification bout.
In an interview with Gary Neville on ‘The Overlap’ on Sky Sports, Usyk revealed how his journey in sports started. He recalled how he battled serious pneumonia during his second year of school and had to spend months in the hospital.
“When I was in year two at school, I got really ill and had serious pneumonia that was very bad,” he revealed on ‘The Overlap’ on Sky Sports, where he was interviewed by Gary Neville.
“The doctor even told my mum that I might not survive. That illness lasted for a year.
“I would spend two months in hospital and then two weeks at home. Or even a month in hospital.
During his recovery, Usyk found an interest in religion and started doing press-ups, squats, and running, which laid the foundation for his sporting journey.
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“Since then, my grandma always took me to church and I found it interesting, I liked watching the service. I also liked the smell of frankincense. I would study the place. I could pray alone.
Usyk also talked about how he played football, rode horses, and swam to improve his endurance, as there wasn’t much to do in his village. He even poured cold water over himself to boost his endurance.
In 2002, Usyk started playing for a professional football team when he returned to Crimea. However, his journey was interrupted when his father passed away.
“At that time, I also started doing press-ups, squats, and running. That’s how my sporting journey started.
“There wasn’t much to do in the village and the only thing we had was football. So, I played football, rode horses, swam, and improved my endurance by pouring cold water over me.
“When we returned to Crimea in 2002, I started playing for a professional football team.
“I played with them until my father passed away, God rest his soul.
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Usyk credits his father for teaching him about the importance of family, sports, and education, and instilling discipline and motivation in him.
Despite his mother’s disapproval, his father even taught him how to defend himself with a knife, with the intention of using it only for protection.
“My father was the one who always motivated and forced me to train and study.
“Everything I have now is down to him. He put so much into me, taught me about priorities in life. For me, that’s family, sport, and education.
“He was a military man and my mother hated it when he taught me how to fight with a knife.
“She’d shout ‘Sasha, he’ll grow up to be a criminal, what are you doing?’
“He’d reply ‘He’ll never use it on others, but when he needs to protect someone then that’s when he’ll use it’.”
Usyk’s journey in sports has been marked by hard work and perseverance. He is now looking to put his skills to the test against Tyson Fury in a potential unification bout.
As he prepares for this challenge, he continues to draw inspiration from his past experiences and his father’s teachings.