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Oleksandr Usyk makes professional football debut ahead of Anthony Joshua rematch


Despite having a rematch with Anthony Joshua on the horizon, boxer Oleksandr Usyk made his professional football debut on Friday, coming on as a substitute for Ukrainian second-tier side FC Polissya

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Fury takes aim at Joshua, Usyk and Whyte in expletive-laden rant

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Oleksandr Usyk has taken time out from preparing for a rematch against Anthony Joshua to make his debut for a professional football club.

The Ukrainian, who is a world champion boxer in two weight classes, came on as a substitute for native second division team FC Polissya in a friendly on Friday.

Usyk entered the match in the 76th minute, with his side leading UPL Veres 2-1 in the Winter Cup.

The 35-year-old fighter has been training with Polissya during the club’s winter training camp, with their opening Persha Liga campaign set to get underway in March.

Usyk’s sporting switch-up comes potentially weeks away from his second clash in the ring with Joshua after beating the Brit in September 2021 at Tottenham Hotspur’s stadium.

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Join the debate! Who will win the rematch – Usyk or Joshua? Comment your prediction below.

Usyk appeared for Ukrainian outfit Polissya in a friendly

The emphatic victory on foreign territory saw him pick up the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight belts.

Usyk was also holder of the cruiserweight title from 2018 to 2019, being the first champion from that weight class to hold all four major world titles.

But now he is plying his trade with Polissya, as club director director Volodymyr Zagursky told The Times Hub : “If Usyk strengthens our team, we will offer a professional contract, if not, we will just give a chance to try his hand at football.

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“What will Usyk’s participation in the tournament look like? These moments are kept secret. Watch the tournament and you you will see everything.”

Of course, Zagursky’s chances of signing the boxer on a permanent basis are highly unlikely given he is on the cusp of challenging for the undisputed heavyweight title.

Round two with Joshua is set to take place either March or April of this year.

Usyk started the match on the bench after training with his new teammates

Should Usyk emerge victorious, the champ is expected to consequently lock horns with the winner of Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte ‘s WBC title clash later in the spring.

And Fury’s promoter, Frank Warren, has backed Usyk to repeat his beating of Joshua, telling Boxing Social : “I do fancy Usyk in the rematch.

“I did feel that Joshua’s corner got it wrong in the last fight. I don’t think they got it right at all,” Warren admitted.

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Usyk beat Joshua in September 2021
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Image:

Action Images via Reuters)

“I feel Usyk’s got his number, I feel Usyk’s got an exceptional trainer in old man [Anatoly] Lomachenko, he’s a bloody good trainer and I think they’ll be really up fro this in more ways than one.

“I’ll be interested to see if AJ does change his trainer but irrespective of that, he’s got a lot of things to work on, not just his trainer.

“His attitude in that fight, I don’t think was good. I don’t think he was doing what a big guy should have been doing.”

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