Oleksandr Usyk asks ‘what the hell am I doing’ ahead of Anthony Joshua fight | Boxing | sport

Oleksandr Usyk wondered ‘what the hell he was doing’ after some steamy practice sessions ahead of his second fight with Antoine Joshua.

Usyk prepares to defend his WBA (super), IBF and WBO world heavyweight titles for the first time tonight at the King Abdullah Sport City Arena in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. ‘The Cat’ picked up the straps after snatching them from Joshua in September in the Briton’s garden.

Many have criticized Joshua for being ‘too shy’ in the inaugural encounter and the Watford powerhouse are expected to take a more aggressive approach for the rematch. Usyk is only too aware of this fact and is gearing up for a more physical contest with a load of huge sparring partners.

All the noise coming out of Usyk’s camp in Dubai suggests that he willingly engaged in “brutal combat wars” and sent many of his partners packing before fight night. But ‘The Cat’ admitted the intensity took its toll and claims he was ‘sent into space four or five times’ in combat.

“It seems to me that during this preparation, I took a trip to space maybe four or five times,” Usyk told Boxing Scene before the fight. “Sometimes it was really tough for me. When I had a break between rounds, I was like, ‘What the hell am I doing? Why do I need this?’ I said to myself: ‘Because you continue to work. It was your choice. So go ahead.’

“You cannot underestimate this gentleman. He is very strong, you cannot become an Olympic champion from nothing. How old is he? 32? It’s a perfect age for a heavyweight because he still has a real opportunity to learn.

“I don’t pretend to be old, because I’m 35 – I’m also very young! If a fighter, an athlete treats his career with discipline, he can fight for a long time. I think Anthony has very good discipline.


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Usyk will be forced to dig even deeper tonight as he battles in the blistering heat of the Middle Eastern sun.

“I was probably born to fight,” he continued. “But everyone is born for a reason. If I was born to fight, then you were born to tell these sports stories and explain fighters to the world.

“My promoter Alex was born to be my promoter, to guide my career – and to be my translator while I study English! Everyone is born for a reason, people who don’t realize that often make mistakes in their lives. Each of us was born to fight for something.

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