Unified heavyweight champion (over 90.7 kg) from Ukraine Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs) gave an interview for the British YouTube channel
Oleksandr told the journalist how the war of Russia against Ukraine began for him, told about his service in the ranks of the territorial defense, today’s feelings, connection with the defenders of the city of Bakhmut and who he now plays for in the professional ring.
Recall that Usyk is now going through a training camp for the upcoming fight for the title of absolute world champion against British WBC champion Tyson Fury (33-0-1, 24 KOs).
— [объясняет как может на английском] My daughter’s birthday is February 24th. I went to London, went back to my room. I read, watched the phone. And then SMS – bim-bim. SMS from my wife: “The war has begun.” I’m like, “Ugh, my God.” Thinking how can I get home. I called Sergei: “Sergey, please change the tickets. Maybe fly to Poland?” I call my friends in Poland for a car, fly across the border. My friend calls, says: “The car is waiting.” We sat down and went to Kyiv. There was a traffic jam 300 km from Kyiv. My car was the only one that went to Kyiv. Poles stopped at the border: “Hi Alex, where are you going?” “I’m driving home”. “OK OK”. I come home on February 25 at 6 am. People are sleeping, silence. I go to my room. My wife: “Are you back?” “Yes, I’m back.” Kissed her and went to bed. Maybe 2-3 hours and [показывает прилёт ракет] bombs.
41 people lived in my house who came for my birthday. This is my family, my parents, my wife’s parents, my friends. We lived for one month. I joined the army, I had a machine gun. My wife: “Where are you going?”
– I’m going to fight.
– Yes. I’m going to the army.
— Madness. Are you angry?
— [делает глубокий вдох и выдох] Not now. Maybe the first 2 months – yes, I was angry. Why is this all? Not now.
— What do you think now?
– This is a crazy person, Russia.
Usyk: “We need weapons, tanks, fighters. We have people who are not afraid”
– You are a world star and you speak words against Russia, against Putin. Are you worried about yourself, your family because you speak out so loudly?
– No. My family is yes. My family, my friends, my people, yes. Me not!
– Do you have any worries?
“I am in prayer to the Heavenly Father every day. Every day I say: “Thank you, my Father, for the fact that I live, that I walk, that I run.” I think about my family, my sons, my daughter. We didn’t live together for a whole year. My son lived here, my wife lived there, I lived elsewhere. For me this is a problem!
You fight in the ring, but you also fight outside the ring. How do you keep calm?
— [переходит на украинский] Well, I didn’t fight right where my guys are fighting now. I was in Kyiv, in the defense. But it was difficult. Military guys, my friends … But I served in the border troops, and when I went to the hospital to these guys who were already being treated there after the first months of the war, they said that I had to go get ready and come home with a victory. I talk a lot with the guys who are now fighting on the front line. I write down words of support for them. They give me some gifts, they also record videos. Despite the fact that they are in the midst of a terrible battle, they joke, they send me some funny videos that they perform, laugh. That’s how they distract themselves.
The last time they sent me a video from Bakhmut. And he shoots, and they didn’t fly there, bl **a, 5 meters. And he shoots a video and says, “Look, bro.” He says: “Thank God, it didn’t fly to us. We will move to another place.” And they send me another video in the evening. They dug up a kopanka, kindled a fire and are already warming themselves. And says: “We moved to a five-star hotel [смеётся]”.
Does it make you feel invincible? This passion, this sense of unity with your friends, with your people in terms of boxing? Do you feel that you are fighting not only for belts and for yourself?
– I’m not fighting for the belt now. I box for each of the guys who defend the country and in memory of those guys who are no longer there. And for all those who want to be free, for all those who stood up to defend the country before those who came to us.