25 Mar

Usyk Recalls How He Beat Beterbiev at the Olympics

WBO, WBA, IBO, and IBF heavyweight champion (over 200 lbs), as well as co-founder of Ready To Fight, Oleksandr Usyk (21-0, 14 KOs), reminisced about his 2012 Olympics match against the WBO, WBC, and IBF light heavyweight champion (up to 175 lbs) Artur Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs).

He’s a very good boxer. With a heavy punch, pace, and he wasn’t easy to box against. But you have to know how to box him. You shouldn’t fear his pressure.

Do you remember what instructions you got from your corner?

Move, don’t stop, don’t let him aim and meet him, extend and answer back.

Was he one of the most competitive in your weight class at that time?

He moved up to 91 kg, and there were even stronger guys there. But he’s strong.

The pressure he showed, did you have everything under control?

I want to say, you need to know how to box with guys who pressure you with punches. You need to shake them off to the sides and hit them hard in return. And when they receive counter-pressure, they start thinking, ‘Oh! They hit back here.’

The world championship was interesting also because there were many of us in the semi-finals, and the hall supported us from one side, on the other – they were filled to the maximum. Every day there were a lot of people.

At the Olympics, there was a moment, I thought I would meet him already in the first fight. And it happened. As they say, thoughts are material. I prepared for him, and for Clemente Russo, Pulev, Tarver, everyone, because in the competitions I boxed with Tarver three times. At the Olympics, it was the third fight. With Beterbiev – the third. With Clemente – the second. That is, we met in all competitions.

During the fight, what was he trying to catch you on?

Just pressure, hit and hit, to strike, break.

Could you have boxed against him more aggressively, or was it not necessary?

If I could have, I would have boxed. Such a moment, when you're boxing, feeling the tempo, you do some clear things. Not many, but clear. You landed a punch, the head jerked – it counts. Amateur boxing is about the slaps, but, I think, the Olympics were judged by cards.

I think you’ve rewatched your fights many times. Why does he see his victory there? Or are these just words to attract attention?

(Laughs) Maybe he counts differently. Or he just can’t accept that he lost. Maybe something personal. I don’t know. I have no… Don't speak toward him.

Oleksandr Usyk and Artur Beterbiev met three times in the amateurs. Beterbiev won in 2007, but in 2011 and 2012, Oleksandr emerged victorious.