Oleksandr Usyk said he will not let “the refrigerator” beat him like it did Andy Ruiz Jr as he looks to climb to the top of boxing’s heavyweight mountain.
After dominating at cruiserweight (200lbs limit), you might think Usyk (17-0) would be delighted that the move up to heavy effectively gives him carte blanche to eat what he wants and not worry about the scales. But the slick Ukrainian southpaw is thinking nothing of the sort, and cited the example of former world heavyweight king Ruiz Jr to make his point.
Having stunned Anthony Joshua to win the IBF, WBA and WBO titles in New York in June 2019, Ruiz Jr came in distinctly chubby for the rematch six months later and lost a unanimous decision to AJ in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
During an interview on his Usyk17 YouTube channel, Usyk said: “Some heavyweights are overweight and that prevents them from being efficient. Why did they not lose weight? Because of laziness, I think. We can see that in the second bout of Anthony Joshua vs Andy Ruiz. Joshua lost five kilos and Ruiz put on seven kilos.
“In the first fight between them, Ruiz had his hand-speed and explosive force. Speaking about their bout second bout, I’ll use slang, I think that the refrigerator won finally. It’s so sad to say such a thing but it was a fault of Ruiz.
“I don’t want to be overweight of course. A few extra kilos can interfere with speed and mobility. So, I follow my diet. Though I rarely allow myself some sweets or having a meal in the evening sometimes. But however, my weight remains stable.”
Usyk advertised his physical wellbeing this week by showing off his dance moves in a hilarious Twitter video as he prepares for a rearranged date with the ever-dangerous Dereck Chisora (32-9), likely in October according to Dereck’s promoter David Haye.
— Alexander Usyk (@usykaa) July 28, 2020
Usyk stepped up to heavyweight in 2019 and was immediately installed as the mandatory contender for Joshua’s World Boxing Organization (WBO) title, and he defeated Chazz Witherspoon in Chicago last October in his only bout so far at the higher weight. He weighed just 215lbs (15st 5lbs) that night.
Chisora will present a good test of the 33-year-old’s heavyweight credentials, with a potential world title shot against Joshua beckoning in the near future. The WBO has said it expects Joshua to defend against Usyk if he beats IBF contender Kubrat Pulev in his next fight – and crucially before any unification match can take place against fellow Brit Tyson Fury.