Emotional Oleksandr Usyk reveals he ‘can’t stop thinking about the war’ in first interview since leaving Ukraine
OLEKSANDR USYK "cannot stop thinking about" the war ravaging Ukraine as he prepares for his rematch with Anthony Joshua.
The unified heavyweight champion recently left the frontlines to prepare for a summer showdown with AJ after defending his homeland from Russian invaders for the best part of a month.
But the proud Ukrainian is, understandably, finding it incredibly hard to focus on his maiden title defence as Russian troops continue to decimate his nation.
He told BlockAsset: "I want to concentrate as much as possible on my preparation [for the rematch].
"Because at the moment I cannot stop thinking about the war, about my friends in Ukraine.
"And I have to get rid of such thoughts as much as possible in order to be prepared well for the Anthony Joshua fight and be able to glorify again My God, Jesus Christ and my native land."
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Usyk's pain has been worsened by his loss of contact with some of his friends.
The slick southpaw said: "Boxing is a sport, boxing is a skill. While war is survival.
"Luckily, I didn't see much of the war, but what I saw and what I know from my relatives and my friends is terrible.
"Some of my friends are missing and we don't know where they are now.
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"Many of my relatives have lost their homes and lost their friends and loved ones."
Uysk is praying for a swift end to the atrocities being committed in the name of Russian president Vladimir Putin.
He said: "Frankly speaking, all that is going on now is quite horrible – in Ukraine.
"Every day I pray for the soonest possible end of this horror. In comparison with war, boxing is child's play.
"War is a terrible thing which I would not wish on my worst enemy."
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Uysk's rematch with Joshua – who he turned over in their Tottenham tussle last September – is still being finalised.
But it's understood the pair's second showdown will take place in Saudi Arabia – with June 25 the current working date for their desert dust-up.
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