‘Happy’ Oleksandr Usyk to take a break after nine months of sacrifices pay off


Oleksandr Usyk will switch off from boxing after proving he is the best heavyweight of his generation by outpointing Tyson Fury in Riyadh.

Usyk emerged from a shaky sixth round to finish strongly against Fury, who was desperately close to being stopped in the ninth with only the ropes and bell coming to his rescue.

The remarkable Ukrainian now holds the distinction of becoming just the second fighter alongside Evander Holyfield to be crowned undisputed cruiserweight and heavyweight champion.

Usyk’s training camp for ‘Ring of Fire’ was extended when Fury suffered a cut in training, forcing the original date of February 17 to be postponed, and the Olympic gold medallist revealed the sacrifices he made to be ready.

“I don’t want to think about boxing now,” said Usyk, who arrived for the post-fight press conference with his daughter Yelizaveta’s Eeyore cuddly toy.

“My camp started in September 2023 and I worked for nine months. I missed Happy New Year, I missed my son’s birthday, I missed my other son’s birthday, I missed my daughter’s birthday and then the birth of my daughter.

“I also missed family holidays. I was only focused on this fight. Now I’m happy and I want to go back home.”

Usyk’s status as undisputed champion will be brief with the IBF soon to strip him of their title as his contracted rematch with Fury in October means he is unable to face their mandatory challenger Filip Hrgovic.

But there is no questioning his place at the summit of the division after relentlessly pursuing Fury across 12 gripping rounds, defying the disadvantage of conceding almost three stones in weight and six inches in height to topple the bigger man.

The 37-year-old made a brief hospital visit for a scan on an injury his promoter Alex Krassyuk declined to specify amid suggestions he had broken his jaw, but he later returned to the Kingdom Arena to give a press conference.

At the end he broke down in tears in memory of his father, who died shortly after he won gold at London 2012 – before they had the chance to celebrate together. Usyk has previously said that his father visits him in his dreams.

“I miss my father. I said to him ‘you live there and I live here, please don’t come for me, I love you’,” Usyk said.

“For me it’s hard when my father comes back to me because I remember all life. I know he is here.”



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