Has Oleksander Usyk lost too much weight?
With reports last month that Oleksander Usyk had dropped an astonishing amount of weight, questions immediately arose about defending his title against Anthony Joshua
In the wake of the revelation that Oleksander Usyk had lost 10 kgs (22 pounds) in the early days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, speculation in the boxing media was rife that he would be in no shape to defend his titles in the rematch with Anthony Joshua.
After spending a month on the front line, Usyk determined that he could help Ukraine more by returning to training to defend his titles. He went into camp with this cloud over his head. It would seem now that those fears may have been unfounded.
Reports have surfaced that Kazakh heavyweight Nursultan Amanzholov, who helped Usyk prepare for the first encounter with Joshua, has told Sky Sports that Usyk’s sparring partners are being “busted up” and “can’t keep up”.
Aamir Ali, Amanzholov’s manager, said that “there are days when Usyk goes to war with him. It’s not easy to hurt to Nursultan but he’s been on the receiving end a few times. But a lot of his heavyweights have been sent back home, if they can’t stay in camp. They can’t keep up.
“[Usyk] is in tremendous shape for this camp. As soon as [Usyk] came back from Jeddah, from the press conference, the day he arrived back, he phoned up Nursultan who was sitting in his hotel and said to him, ‘I want you sparring today.’ Literally got off the plane and started sparring straightaway and [Amanzholov] said he was in a foul mood. He was in a really angry mood, wanted to go to war. Anthony Joshua’s in trouble.
“[Usyk] was sending heavyweights, six foot six and whatnot back home. Nursultan was the one of the only heavyweights that he kept on throughout the whole camp. Because he would actually challenge him and give him a very tough time and from what I understand there were points where Nursultan was being told by Usyk, ‘No I need you to come on harder.’ Like don’t hold back on me, just go to war.”
Usyk’s longtime Ukranian promoter Alexander Krassyuk said that, although Usyk had indeed lost some weight, as did all of his countrymen and women, during those stressful days, reports of it weakening him were exaggerated.
“Most of us had the same effect. So we lost a lot of weight. We were stressed. It’s normal for the first period.”
The 35-year-old undefeated southpaw stormed through the cruiserweight division before stepping up to heavyweight. He defeated Anthony Joshua last September in London to win three of the four heavyweight world titles. The rematch is scheduled for August 20th in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.