Oleksandr Usyk will pass his time in London this week by binge watching Peaky Blinders as he waits for his clash with Anthony Joshua.
The Ukrainian star is currently watching the British TV series Peaky Blinders and is a huge fan of Tommy Shelby.
Others may be anxious about facing the WBA/IBF and WBO heavyweight champions before 60,000 fans at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. But Usyk will be too busy thinking about what the future holds for the fictional Brummie gang boss.
“I am not going to be nervous, look why would I do that?” “It was a great accomplishment as a cruiserweight champion,” said Usyk.
“If I do that would not change anything. I won’t get stronger, but I might become weaker.
“I will be calm and confident and I will probably read a book before or watch a film, I will speak to my loved ones or I may call my son. I am not going to do nerves at all.
“At the moment I am watching a British drama series, I only know the name in Russian.”
The interpreter cuts in to inform him that it is Peaky Blinders.
“Everything looks like real life, it is realistic,” adds Usyk.
“My favourite character is the boss (Tommy Shelby).
“It’s a cool and emotional drama and this is like real life, this is the way a family should function, protecting each other and standing up for each other,
“And he is very cool in the way he dresses.”
Cillian Murphy plays Usyk. There are similarities between them.
In the 1920s drama, the Brummie gang leader can outfox all. Usyk is able to do the exact same in the ring.
At 34, his roll of honour includes Olympic gold, all four belts at cruiserweight, he is unbeaten as a professional in 18 fights and now he has eyes for Joshua’s three heavyweight crowns.
He is a super-skilled Southpaw who will hope to bridge the difference of three inches and perhaps two stone in weight to defeat the British star.
His interest in boxing began when his father, a former Shypyntsi resident, put him in front the sport as a child.
He has great respect for the Klitschko brothers, the last Ukrainians to rule the heavyweight division, but is “not a fan of their style”.
Outside of the ring, ‘The Cat’ is a colorful character known for his bizarre hairstyles, questionable dance moves, and witty one-liners. He even uses a translator.
He is a man of family. He is the father to three children: two boys, one girl.
Although he is not at home, his son Mykhailo has been a distraction during training camp.
He revealed that his son had been complaining about Joshua not wanting to go to school, which was his primary focus. The matter has been resolved.
“Well he is still not liking it but we both have an agreement with him so if he goes to school makes me stronger,” he said.
“I persuaded him that going to school is a necessary procedure. He’s older, it’s necessary for him to get knowledge, be stronger and become stronger in life.”
Although Usyk may smile, this is serious business. He has the opportunity to be a world champion at cruiserweight and then move up to heavyweight.
“I watched and followed Holyfield for quite some time and I really appreciate and admire him moving from cruiserweight and him fighting big guys,” Uysk.
“Every one of us has our own page in history, I respect him and follow him with respect.”
Ever since Usyk moved up to heavyweight – this will be his third fight in the division – it was clear his path would cross with Joshua as he was made mandatory for the WBO title.
Although Joshua was set to face Tyson Fury, Usyk would likely face Joe Joyce in the summer. The winner of the all British superfight would then be the WBO champion.
However, Alex Krassyuk, his promoter, revealed that after beating Tony Bellew in his last fight at cruiserweights Matchroom chief Eddie Hearn told him that all roads had to lead to Joshua otherwise the Ukrainian would not sign a promotional deal.
Usyk had hoped for this fight for quite some time. He might be dismissed by some for his large stature, but this is Joshua’s biggest challenge in professional boxing.
They both won their Olympic gold medals within 24hrs of each other back 2012!
Joshua won the super-heavyweight title on Saturday. Joshua was greeted with huge cheers at the Excel in London’s docklands.
“In 2012, I was not thinking about fighting him because at that time I didn’t enter professional boxing yet,” said Usyk.
“But it was obvious he would become a superstar even back then because of the combination of the factors – a guy from the UK, a heavyweight and many many other things.
“It was obvious that he would be a superstar.
“I believe he is joking if he says he does not remember me from back then because he did know me then. It doesn’t matter.
“I do remember him and have been watching his fights for quite a long time.
“It will be a great pleasure to box in London again, I love London and the UK and it is my lucky place.”
This is being billed as a big homecoming for Joshua as he fights in front of a packed stadium again and the visiting fighter believes that will play into his hands.
“I believe it will be more difficult for him because he has three tiles and is fighting at home and defending at home and a baldish guy from Ukraine will come to his home country and will be looking for a big fight,” said Usyk.
“At this moment in my career, this is the biggest fight. My opponent is an Olympic champion, he holds three versions of the world title, he’s a cool opponent.”
Cool could also be used to describe Usyk.