Ukraine’s WBO and WBC Cruiserweight World Champion Aleksandr Usyk, is looking forward to the historic Ali Trophy Final against Murat Gassiev on July 21 in Moscow, Russia.
31-year-old Usyk (14-0-11, KOs), gold medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, has prepared for the final at the Olympic Village in Kiev.
“Is it a perfect gym. I spent a lot of time there before the Olympics. I have lived and trained there for many years. It is a base where it smells like sports spirit. It smells like work.”
How are you feeling with the big final approaching?
“I’m fine. I have a family, I have close friends, I have a great job. What else can a person dream of? I feel great!”
How do you remember your semi-final victory over Mairis Briedis?
“I don’t live in the past. I try to move forward. My victory over Mairis happened on the 27th of January. Of course, I have good memories, I got another belt and reached the final, but now we have a new stage.”
You were watching Murat’s semi-final against Dorticos live in Sochi. What was your impression?
“The fight was perfect, two great guys who found out who is the strongest.”
What kind of fighter is Murat?
“You can watch on YouTube … I will only say this: he is a strong guy. And now, thank God, Murat and I will fight for the Muhammad Ali Trophy and the ‘absolute world champion’ title.
How would you characterize the training camp?
“I get up at 4.50 a.m. every morning and set myself on fire. To rebuild, you have to burn yourself, so I have been burning! I enjoy the hard training, I love the pressure, can you believe it? Maybe I am a little bit crazy.”
How have you been sparring?
“We tried to find someone who has the same style as Murat. It is important. When they do the same work as Murat does, it will help me to train the particular combinations to use against him.”
What is the most important in your training?
“Discipline. One of the most important components a fighter needs in order to achieve the highest success is discipline. Discipline beats everything.”
How is it for you to fight in Russia?
“Do I look like I am afraid to fight anywhere? I feel excellent about it. I am an athlete, a warrior. I do not care where I fight, I just want to fight.”
How about your fans …?
“I know there will be support coming in from Ukraine which is great.“
How is the mood in the team before going to Moscow?
“I am ready, my team is ready. We are all going to Moscow in good mood.”
What can the fight fans all over the world expect from the final?
“When the strong guys meet, the fights are interesting! This is what is so great about this tournament. It is necessary for the sport. I have said it before and I will say it again: the fans should expect a beautiful final!”
The winner of Usyk-Gassiev on July 21 at the Olympic Sports Complex in Moscow will be the first boxer ever to win the Muhammad Ali Trophy and unify the cruiserweight titles in the four belt era.
The belts on the line will be the WBO, WBC, IBF and WBA and RING Magazine’s vacant cruiserweight championship strap.