Who is Oleksandr Usyk? Anthony Joshua’s next opponent has the same birthday as idol Muhammad Ali, won Olympic Gold at London 2012 and was an amateur footballer in Ukraine

Oleksandr Usyk puts his undefeated record on the line when he challenges Anthony Joshua later this month.

AJ was expected to meet Tyson Fury to unite the heavyweight titles this summer but the Gypsy King was ordered to pull out and take on Deontay Wilder in their trilogy clash instead.

Oleksandr Usyk conquered the cruiserweight division before moving up to heavyweight
Simon Stacpoole/Matchroom

WBO mandatory challenger Usyk has now stepped in as Joshua’s new opponent and the Ukrainan will pose a hugely tough test.

Tony Bellew claimed AJ will NEVER face a better boxer than ‘The Cat’, but how much do we know about him? talkSPORT.com takes a look…

Oleksandr Usyk: Profile

The 34-year-old was born in Simferopol, Crimean Oblast, Ukrainian SSR on January 17 1987, sharing his name with Muhammad Ali.

Usyk was an amateur footballer as a teen and even played in the academy for former Ukrainian premier league champions SC Tavriya Simferopol.

After switching to boxing, the southpaw went on to dominate in the amateur ranks – recording 335 victories and only 15 losses.

Like Joshua, Usyk also won an Olympic gold medal at the 2012 Games in London by winning the men’s boxing heavy 91kg event.

Joshua and Usyk will meet at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 25

Oleksandr Usyk: Record

Since turning professional, Usyk wasted no time in dominating the cruiserweight division – becoming world champion in his tenth pro fight.

He captured the WBO world cruiserweight title by beating Krzysztof Glowacki before unifying the weight class just five bouts later.

Usyk – who is unbeaten in his 18 professional bouts to date – retired Bellew in 2018 before moving up to heavyweight the following year.

He finished Chazz Witherspoon inside seven rounds on his top division debut before he saw off Derek Chisora last October.

Usyk will now bid to emulate both Evander Holyfield and David Haye by becoming a two-division world champion if he takes AJ’s heavyweight belts.

Usyk beat Derek Chisora in his first significant test at heavyweight
Mark Robinson/Matchroom

Joshua v Usyk: How to watch

  • The Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host the heavyweight title bout on Saturday, September 25
  • The two fighters are expected to make their ring walks from 10.30pm
  • The fight will be shown live on Sky Sports Box Office with their broadcast starting from 6pm
  • It will cost £24.95, with the full undercard and main event shown
  • You can also live stream HERE for the same price on your computer, mobile and tablet devices
  • Sky Sports Box Office is also available on BT TV – tune to channel 496 or by searching for the event in the BT Player