Alexander Usyk, the reigning unified heavyweight champion, recently sat down with Radio Rahim of Seconds Out for an in-depth interview where he spoke candidly about his recent signing with the Skill Challenge Promotion and the ongoing war situation in Ukraine.
Usyk surprised many by opting to sign with Skills Challenge Promotion instead of more established entities in the boxing world. Asked about his decision, he said, “Skills Challenge is capable of organizing the fight with Tyson Fury.” Usyk also eferenced the crucial roles of Alex Krassyuk and Egis Klimas in making the potential match with Fury a reality.
Usyk’s decision to sign with Skills Challenge was not just a business move; a personal relationship with Prince Khalid played a part as well. “I think that normal business relationships are impossible without good friendly relations between the men, and Prince Khalid became my friend,” Usyk shared.
As a dedicated family man and a strong believer in God, Usyk opened up about the difficulty of fighting on two fronts, for his family and his homeland. He voiced his intent to dedicate his future fight to those on the frontline defending Ukraine. He mentioned how he stays in Ukraine during the wartime, enduring harsh conditions, to support his homeland.
In a particularly moving moment, Usyk detailed what it’s like living in a war-torn country: the sound of explosions at night, the fear and frustration, the disrupted sleep as people retreat to bomb shelters. Despite being financially secure, Usyk insisted on staying in his homeland, asking, “how can I leave my home in such a horrible difficult time?”
Turning to his boxing career, Usyk announced his upcoming fight’s date moved to coincide with Ukrainian Independence Day, providing an opportunity for Ukrainians, especially those displaced due to war, to partake in the celebratory event and derive some positivity amidst the ongoing turmoil.
On the subject of potential opponents, Usyk confirmed discussions about a possible match with Deontay Wilder, but clarified that his next mandatory fight is against Daniel Dubois. Responding to Wilder’s assertion that fear was the reason the fight didn’t happen, Usyk amusingly quipped, “the only thing I’m really really afraid of is to get my wife frustrated.”
The conversation eventually landed on the controversial figure Tyson Fury. Usyk accused Fury’s greed as being the barrier to their fight, further refuting Fury’s claim of a rematch clause being the sticking point in their negotiations, urging him to stop lying.
Usyk: “Tyson’s Fury’s greed is something that stands as a challenge on making this fight happen. I don’t feel any negative feelings towards Tyson. I even pray for him.”
Usyk also spoke out against the perceived lack of respect for Anthony Joshua following their fight in Saudi Arabia, stressing that his intention was to offer support and respect for Joshua’s effort, and he attributed any perceived negativity to the emotions involved in the fight.
Usyk: “Anthony Joshua is the great person, a great fighter and just a great human being.”
One of the more poignant moments in the interview was when Usyk discussed his good friend, Vasyl Lomachenko’s recent defeat. Usyk believed Lomachenko was robbed in the fight due to biased judging and showed his empathy towards Lomachenko’s emotional response to the defeat.
Usyk: “Lomachenko was robbed in this fight.There’s nothing bad about crying, it shows how strong Lomachenko is.”
Finally, when asked about his upcoming fight against Daniel Dubois, Usyk chose to remain focused on the present, saying, “I’m not thinking of how I’m gonna beat Daniel. The time for this will come when I’ll be walking to the ring.”
The interview ended on a hopeful note, with Usyk expressing his wish that he’ll fight Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder at some point, and his continued dedication to his family, his homeland, and his faith. Despite the challenges he faces, both in the boxing ring and in his personal life, Usyk remains steadfast and determined, an inspiration to many around the world.