Skip to Content

Oleksandr Usyk pays tearful tribute to late father after becoming undisputed heavyweight world champion

By Issy Ronald, CNN

(CNN) — Once the immediate shock and joy at becoming the undisputed heavyweight world champion had subsided, Oleksandr Usyk’s thoughts turned to his late father who passed away in 2012.

As the Ukrainian recalled the last time he dreamt about his father in the press conference after defeating Tyson Fury, his words faltered and he grew tearful.

“I miss my father and I said to him ‘you live there and I live here, please don’t come for me, I love you,’” he said, explaining that he hadn’t dreamt about him before this fight.

“For me it is hard when my father comes back to me because I remember all life. I know he is here, maybe sitting out there,” he said, gesturing at the press room, wiping his eyes with his shirt and flexing his arms.

Usyk, 37, became the first undisputed heavyweight champion in the four-belt era after defeating Fury in a split decision in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday. He is the first undisputed champion since Lennox Lewis 25 years ago, the Briton winning all three belts available at that time.

Two judges scored it 115-112 and 114-113 for Usyk, with the other scoring 114-113 in Fury’s favor. The victory saw Usyk adding the WBC title to his WBA, IBF and WBO belts.

Earlier in his post-fight interview, Usyk also paid tribute to the soldiers “who defend my country,” as Russia ramps up its offensive in northern Ukraine, more than two years after it first invaded.

“It’s a big win not only for me, it’s a big win for my country,” Usyk told Sky Sports.

Fury disputed the judges’ decision in his post-fight interview, saying that he “won that fight” and people “were siding with the country at war.”

He added in the press conference afterwards that he thought he was winning the fight ahead of its final round.

“If my corner would have said in the final round, ‘Go out and finish it,’ I would have – but we all thought we were up,” he said.

“In the first six rounds he maybe nicked one of them. Going forward I believe I won a few of the last ones as well … so it was close, one of the judges had me winning, the other two didn’t.”

Months of talk and canceled bouts preceded the fight leaving both boxers in training for nine months. A date of December 23 was initially agreed but following a controversial, tougher-than-expected fight for Fury against former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, the fight was delayed until February 2024.

On the eve of the second date, it was postponed once more after the Briton suffered “a freak cut” above his eye during a sparring session.

“Nine months I worked,” Usyk said. “I missed the birth of my daughter, I missed all my family holidays … Now I’m happy, I want to go home, go to my church, pray.”

After spending such a long time training for this fight, Usyk brushed off any discussion of a rematch in the press conference, after accepting one scheduled for October immediately after the fight.

“I don’t think about boxing now please,” he quipped.

Fury echoed his opponent saying in his press conference that he didn’t want to think about another fight just yet.

“I ain’t boxing here because I’ve got no money, I’m boxing because I love it. I’m 36 in a few months and I’ve been boxing since I was a child. Where does it end?” he said.

™ & © 2024 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - Sports

Jump to comments ↓

CNN Newsource


News Channel 3 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content