ANTALYA, Turkiye

World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Oleksandr Usyk has joined a Ukrainian football club’s training camp in the Turkish Mediterranean to improve his feet skills for his profession on Friday.

Nicknamed “The Cat” for his agility and swiftness on the boxing ring, Usyk of Ukraine accompanied his country’s Polissya Zhytomyr football club’s winter camp in the Mediterranean province of Antalya.

Usyk, 35, told Anadolu Agency that he played football while he was a child. He said football and boxing are different sporting branches, but they complete each other in some ways.

“In childhood, I have exercised football. Good ‘football feet’ helps a lot in boxing,” Usyk said.

Usyk was a football player while he was a teen, but in 2002, he preferred boxing.

In London 2012, Usyk won Olympic gold in the heavyweight category.

He is expected to play as a forward for Polissya in a friendly match against another Ukrainian club Veres Rivne.

Usyk, who had interests in American football, basketball, and volleyball, will also help Polissya with the football club’s publicity campaigns.

The world champion did not disclose or hint at his future plans about boxing.

“How can I tell you about my plans? Anthony [Joshua] can see that if I tell my plans. My plan is great – to do a big amount of my own work in the gym and do that job no worse than I did in the first fight. We have maximum tasks,” Usyk said.

Separately, he said that the experienced boxer does not have any ordinary idol in boxing.

“I do not have idols. I am an Orthodox Christian. My idol is Jesus,” Usyk remarked.

Additionally, he said he is a good friend of the Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, who are Ukrainian boxing legends.

Having multiple world heavyweight championships, Vitali, 50, currently serves as Kyiv Mayor.

His younger brother Wladimir had world championships as well.

“I have a good, great friendship with them [Klitschko brothers].

“Everything is nice, we can call each other to ask ‘how are you?’, ‘are you busy or not?’, we can have dinner or supper together, we can talk about life, they can advise me something because where they have been. I have beautiful, friendly relations with them,” Usyk said.

Usyk beat British boxer Anthony Joshua in 2021 to retain the World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Organization (WBO), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and International Boxing Organization (IBO) heavyweight belts.

Both are expected to appear in a rematch in April 2022.

*Writing by Selcuk Bugra Gokalp

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