Monday, May 20, 2024
27 C
Brunei Town

Boxing champion Usyk leaves Ukraine for Joshua rematch preparation

KYIV (AFP) – Reigning world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk has left war-torn Ukraine to begin his preparation for a rematch with Britain’s Anthony Joshua, his manager told AFP on Friday.

The 35-year-old holder of the World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and World Boxing Organisation (WBO) belts came back to Ukraine to defend his family as soon as Russia invaded his home country on February 24.

“He went abroad to prepare for the rematch,” Usyk’s Kyiv-based manager, Yaroslav Lordkipanidze, told AFP by phone.

He said that Usyk left “several days ago”, without providing further details of his current whereabouts.

Usyk defeated then champion Joshua last September by a unanimous decision in front of a home crowd in London.

Joshua immediately voiced his readiness to face Usyk again, in a bout that might take place as early as this summer.

Usyk became one of several top Ukrainian sports people who expressed their intention to resist Russian invasion of their country.

The boxer said he was “defending my home, my wife, my children, my close ones” in an interview with CNN from the basement of his home in the Kyiv area, days after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion.

Former world lightweight champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist Vasiliy Lomachenko has also returned home to help defend the town of Belgorod-Dnistrovsky near the city of Odessa.