Oleksandr Usyk is apparently in tip top shape, despite the fact that he may have lost an abnormally large amount of weight.
Reports surfaced last month that Usyk, the WBA, WBO, IBO and IBF heavyweight champion, had shed 22 pounds in the space of a week, just after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Usyk’s homeland.
Usyk, who had previously unified the cruiserweight division, had originally moved off his scheduled rematch with England’s Anthony Joshua in the spring in order to enlist in his country’s territorial defense force. But Usyk announced last month that he would be moving forward with the rematch, his rationale being that he believes he can be of more help to his country by defending his heavyweight belts. The rematch is projected to take place July 23 in the Middle East, according to multiple reports.
Alexander Krassyuk, Usyk’s longtime Ukrainian promoter, said initial public perception that Usyk’s physical well-being had taken a blow was grossly exaggerated. Krassyuk conceded that most of his countrymen and countrywomen all probably lost some weight as a result of stress and anxiety in response to the invasion.
“When you stay in the basement because you hear the alarm for the possible missile attack, it’s not about…you’re not feeling hungry, let’s say,” Krassyuk told Sky Sports. “I had the same. Most of us had the same effect. So we lost a lot of weight. We were stressed. It’s normal for the first period.”
Krassyuk, however, noted that after a period of acclimatization, Ukrainians are no longer as rattled. And that also includes Usyk.
Usyk is reportedly training in nearby Poland.
“But then human psychology is very complicated,” Krassyuk said. “It takes some time to get used to the new obstacles and new circumstances and new environment. And then you get used to doing that and then you don’t get stressed anymore. That’s what happened.
“He (Usyk) did lose some weight, as all of us did, but I don’t think it’s going to affect his conditioning. The conditioning comes through hard work in the training camp. His training camp started early April, so he’s doing good. Thank God, he’s now feeling great. He’s feeling motivated.”
The 35-year-old Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs), a southpaw, defeated Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) last September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London to win three of the four major heavyweight titles.