‘We Won. We Did It’: Usyk Discusses The Sacrifices He Made To Rule The World

Oleksandr Usyk revealed the extent of the sacrifices he made to prepare for Saturday’s victory over Tyson Fury.

The new undisputed heavyweight champion secured his status among the very finest fighters in history when at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia he earned a split-decision victory over the previously undefeated Fury, regarded one of the finest heavyweights of all time.

Usyk, 37, recovered from perhaps the most difficult six rounds of his career to make the necessary adjustments to earn a deserved decision over the 35-year-old Fury, who was even on the brink of being stopped when the bell sounded to end the ninth round.

The Ukrainian therefore added Fury’s WBC title to that he already possessed from the IBF, WBA and WBO, but after the postponement of two dates with Fury – those scheduled for December 2023 and then two months later – he explained that his most significant victory had come at a considerable cost.

“I don’t think about boxing now,” he responded when asked about the prospect of a rematch with Fury, who has a clause in his fight contract to force a second fight later in 2024. “My start [of preparing for Fury] was September 2023. 

“Nine months I worked; I missed happy new year; I missed my son’s birthday; I missed my other son’s birthday; I missed my daughter’s birthday; I missed my daughter’s birth. I missed my family’s holidays. All the time, training; training; training. My focus was only this fight. 

“Now I’m happy. I want to go back home, go to my church, pray, say, ‘Jesus, thank you’. Because for me, and my country, it’s a big opportunity. I’m grateful for whoever prayed for me, because it’s many people. Thank you.

“I didn’t worry [about the scorecards] – I don’t know why. I believed that I won.

“I don’t think about [whether the referee Mark Nelson denied me a knockout by giving Fury a standing count], because we had a win. Maybe. I don’t think about it, because we have a win. Okay – no knockout, no problem. The 12th round was a big drama.”

Usyk – who attended his post-fight press conference after suggestions that he had suffered a fractured jaw – was again asked about the influence of his late father, who he had spoken about so emotionally in the build-up to Saturday’s fight.

“I miss my father,” said the winner of the first undisputed heavyweight title fight since the night Lennox Lewis defeated Evander Holyfield in 1999. “I said to my father, ‘Listen, you live there; I live here. I love you’. For me it’s hard when my father comes to me [in visions or dreams], because remember, all my life, I know he’s here [with me].

“I thank my team – Team Usyk. Thank you so much. I love you. Egis Klimas; Alex Krassyuk. Unbelievable. I love you. We did it. 

“We won. We did it.”