Oleksandr Usyk has, as we know, a wry sense of humour. Often, with a twinkle in his eye, the reigning WBA/IBF/WBO heavyweight champion has a joke or two at our expense when answering a question. And, just recently, when speaking with ESNews, Usyk may or may not have been serious when he said that he will, after his fight (or fights, the rematch clause reportedly in place) with Tyson Fury, retire to go and play soccer (we Brits call it Football).
Usyk, who has a passion for the sport, said he will beat Fury and then swap his gloves for football boots, to play for “the number one football team [in Ukraine].” This would be FC Polissya, and Usyk says he has a signed contract to play for them when his ring career comes to an end.
“I win [against Tyson Fury] and then I go and play football,” Usyk said when out in Saudi Arabia. “I have a contract signed with the number one football team [in Ukraine].”
So, is Usyk serious? Will Usyk beat Fury, once or maybe twice? Some people are not in any way certain Fury will even fight again after his rough and embarrassing night with boxing debutant Francis Ngannou. Fury’s confidence and bluster sure took a massive hit with that fight, no doubt about it. George Groves for one feels we may have seen the last of Fury in a boxing ring.
If so, where does that leave Usyk? The word is Fury-Usyk will go ahead in February, and Frank Warren has assured us that Fury will not retire. However, plenty of fans remain sceptical the massive heavyweight unification showdown will actually happen in February. All we can do is wait and see.
But Usyk, if he did defeat Fury (maybe twice) and then did retire, he would be a lock for The Hall of Fame. Usyk, if he did walk away off the back of one or two wins over Fury, would retire with either a 22-0 or a 23-0 record, while Usyk would rank as one of the greatest cruiserweights ever, as well as a very fine heavyweight who accomplished a whole lot with just a handful of fights at the weight. Usyk is a special talent indeed, and we should all appreciate him while he’s fighting.