CASUALLY leant back in his chair, slowly running his signature rosary beads through his fingers, Oleksandr Usyk exuded a cool, almost chilling sense of confidence as he spoke to the assembled media through his translator, acclaimed manager Egis Klimas.
Manchester’s Stoller Hall – where Usyk held court with a handful of journalists in a back room – is a concert venue that typically hosts classical musicians rather than boxers. Perhaps the Ukrainian’s relaxed and poised demeanour in these surroundings should come as no surprise, however, considering his performances in the ring – especially last time out against Murat Gassiev – are often masterful symphonies in their own right.
Usyk’s consummately commanding victory over Gassiev in July not only saw him become the first cruiserweight in history to hold all four of the major governing bodies’ world title belts, but also resulted in him being crowned as the World Boxing Super Series king. Yet it is up in the glamorous confines of the heavyweight division where he sees his future. And one fighter in particular is on his radar – Anthony Joshua.