OLEKSANDR USYK wants to juggle his Tyson Fury training camp with a return to professional football.
Ukraine’s 36-year-old WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight king got a 14-minute cameo appearance for second-tier FC Polissya in a February 2022 friendly.
The southpaw sharpshooter missed a sitter that thankfully didn’t cost his side, as they won 2-1.
That single appearance came in between the two Anthony Joshua wins he secured on points in September 2021 and August 2022.
The London 2012 Olympic golden boy and undisputed cruiserweight boss wants to lace up his boots again but his team is worried it might clash with his training for the Fury fight that is deep in negotiations and targeted for April 29.
When asked if he had hopes of returning to the pitch, he said: “We are communicating with my team about this.
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“But the team and my coaching staff are not very happy about it because the upcoming fight is serious and the risks are not justified.
“We need to be focused and prepare for our match. But there is a desire, so perhaps I will have more games with Polissya.”
The slick southpaw has his sights set on one day playing in the Prem, saying: "England. I like it, it's tougher. There’s fewer boys fall rolling and screaming, 'Ouch.'
"I mean, they go toe to toe, the bone sticks out and they keep running. I like this kind of football better.
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Usyk accepted Fury’s stingy offer of a 70-30 split – with the caveat he donates £1million to help Ukraine defend and rebuild itself against Russia’s invasion.
The 34-year-old Morecambe giant has started his training camp but refused to address the extra contract stipulation, preferring to insult and threaten Usyk and his trademark gap-toothed grin.
But the ice-cool leftie is taking none of Fury’s bluster to heart and has jabbed him with the nickname ‘Greedy Belly’ after he almost blew the fight by rejecting a 60-40 split in favour of the winner.
“I wouldn't say that there is a lot of trash talk,” he said. “In my opinion, trash talk is dirty stuff when you humiliate your opponent and call him or her somehow offensive.
“For example, in my case, when I call Tyson Fury 'Belly', it seems to me to be a little bit cute. A belly, What's so offensive about it? Especially since he has one!
“He speaks to me a little harsher. But it doesn't humiliate me in any way. He keeps talking and talking, let him talk to himself."
While dismissive of Fury, Usyk seems to have more respect for AJ, especially after he personally contacted President Zelensky.
Watford’s 33-year-old former champ has suffered double heartbreak against the Kiev king but still reached out to offer support to his ravaged nation and Usyk will never forget it.
He explained: "This is the sport of boxing, we don’t want to beat-up or humiliate each other.
“We go into the ring, he hits me and I will try to hit him, it's part of the job.
“For example, I know that Anthony Joshua called Volodymyr (Zelensky) and asked him how he could be useful to Ukraine or help and I have double respect for him for that.”
Usyk and Fury pair are set to throw down in a historic undisputed heavyweight title fight after finally agreeing purse splits for their Wembley war last week.
But the bout won't be a short-notice affair for Usyk as he's been preparing for The Gyspy King for the best part of two months.
The undefeated Ukrainian has left no stone unturned ahead of his shot at undisputed glory, even putting himself through gruelling submerged 10-kilometre runs.
He said: "For example, yesterday we ran in the pool with a treadmill inside.
"You stand on a platform, it then lowers you down into the water and the treadmill starts working there.
"And you run there in the water.
"So yesterday we ran with another big guy, his secret nickname is BigDi, big Dima, we ran ten kilometers in the water with him and I want to say that it was damn hard!
"My legs still hurt to this day. Last night I felt so good that I threw my legs up to the ceiling."
Devout Christian Usyk's legs were so knackered he struggled to stand up during Sunday service at church.
He continued: "This morning when we went to church, we go there on Sundays, and when we were standing, I started to feel pain in my back & legs.
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"But my legs today, if you compare them with some human emotions, they are like Whoo-hoo!
"That's what they did!"
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