Oleksandr Usyk was given a hero’s welcome after landing back in Ukraine following his heavyweight victory over Anthony Joshua in London on Saturday night.
The newly-crowned WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion defeated British icon Joshua via an unanimous points decision at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to continue his unbeaten streak to 19 fights.
Oleksandr Usyk (above) was given a hero’s welcome in his native Ukraine after his win over Anthony Joshua
Usyk came out of Kiev’s Boryspil International Airport to a rapturous applause by fans and reporters and the boxer, with some visible bruises on his face from the fight, took time to meet his fans and sign merchandise.
Usyk (left) took time to greet fans and sign merchandise at Kiev’s Boryspil International Airport
Alongside his manager Oleksandr Krasiuk, the 34-year-old also took questions about his immediate future in boxing, vowing to spend more time with his wife Yekaterina and three young children, Kyrylo, Mykhailo, and Yelizaveta, before deciding his next move.
He said: ‘I just want to live. I want to take my kids to school, I want to plant trees, water the apple trees and see my wife more often.
‘I spent three months in training camp, I wish I could spend more time with my wife. I just want to live — I really don’t care what the critics say. There will always be people criticising. I know what I am doing.
‘If I am running I don’t stop until I stop. If I’m swimming I’m not stopping until I nearly drown. I am working very hard so I really don’t care what people say or think about me.’
Usyk also took questions about his future in boxing, saying he wants to focus on his family
The judges for Saturday night’s fight awarded Usyk a scorecard victory of 117–112, 116–112 and 115–113 – but Joshua immediately called on the Ukrainian for a do-or-die rematch for the Brit next year.
Usyk revealed he wanted the rematch to take place in Ukraine’s Olympic Stadium but Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, hinted that any second fight would be back in the UK.
‘We will work together to maximise (the income), Ukraine is very unlikely,’ said Hearn after the fight. ‘I think it will be international or the UK, I would think it would be in the UK.’
Usyk also admitted that, while victory over Joshua felt sweet, it did not beat any sensation felt when he won heavyweight gold in the London 2012 Olympic Games.
‘London is a really lucky city for me but not a single professional victory can be above an Olympic gold,’ he said via a translator after the Joshua fight had finished.