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Oleksandr Usyk achieved his remarkable body transformation with unique cardio sessions, eating SEVEN-POUND bowls of Ukrainian dishes and training so hard he fainted… underwater!

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Oleksandr Usyk will take to the ring as a unified heavyweight champion for the third time when he faces off against Daniel Dubois in Poland on Saturday night. 

It will be the 36-year-old’s fifth bout in the division, having made his name – and earned his first world title – at cruiserweight. 

As such, the Ukrainian had to undergo a sizeable transformation when he made the transition in 2019 ahead of his heavyweight debut against Chazz Witherspoon. 

Intense strength and conditioning sessions, unusual cardio techniques and mammoth plates of food. Usyk has deployed a range of strategies to craft the body that has seen him become world champion in two weight classes – and undisputed in one.

Ahead of his next big bout, we take a look at the near faultless southpaw and his pioneering ways. 

Oleksandr Usyk has undergone a huge transformation after becoming a heavyweight boxer

Oleksandr Usyk has undergone a huge transformation after becoming a heavyweight boxer

Usyk has

He had previously been a cruiserweight

Usyk was previously a cruiserweight before making a successful step up to the heavyweight division

Usyk has reached the pinnacle of the sport with hard work and a remarkable training regiment

Usyk has reached the pinnacle of the sport with hard work and a remarkable training regiment

Training 

Usyk has been known to employ a unique and varied training regime that utilises a mix of techniques that have enabled him to excel in the sport. 

He focuses on strength and conditioning to bulk up, especially since moving up to the heavyweight division, but has also made note of his love for CrossFit exercises. 

A key to his stamina in the ring is his extensive cardiovascular regiment that includes running, skipping, swimming, rowing, ladder drills and heavy bags. 

The exercises not only improve his endurance in bouts but also help to build specific muscles, particularly in his lower body, which allow him to maintain a high intensity throughout lengthy clashes. 

Indeed, three of the four heavyweight fights he has participated in have gone the full 12 rounds and have shown off his remarkable fitness levels. 

As valuable as cardio is to a boxer, strength and conditioning is what gives a fighter the power required to strike fear into the opposition. 

Usyk has some of the most versatile workouts aimed at building strength while maintaining his range of motion and reflexes. 

The southpaw incorporates a range of activities in his cardio program, including swimming

The southpaw incorporates a range of activities in his cardio program, including swimming

Kettlebell workouts, which originated in Eastern Europe, are a key fixture in his preparation for a bout. The champion has routinely been seen doing the exercises that help condition and strengthen his whole body. 

Usyk often credits Anatoly Lomachenko, the father of Vasyl Lomachenko, for crafting him into the fighter he is today. However, he is in more of an unofficial capacity and hasn’t been in his corner in over three years. 

He has trained under James Ali Bashir, one of the former coaches of the Klitschko brothers, but is currently with Yuiy Tkachenko.

Prior to Usyk’s second victory over Anthony Joshua last year, his manager Egis Klimas revealed that he watched the unified champion swim 10km non-stop during his preparations. After learning of the Ukrainian’s intense training, AJ attempted that challenge himself.

Klimas also said his fighter could hold his breath underwater for an almost worrying four minutes and 40 seconds. Usyk has previously revealed that he has fainted while attempting to expand his lung capacity amid some nautical combinations.

‘You know I’m a bit crazy and so my coaches are carefully watching me. If I’m faint, they’ll rescue me.

‘Once, holding my breath underwater, I fainted for a moment and immediately was taken from the pool.’

The 36-year-old still has room in his schedule for tradition strength and conditioning exercises

The 36-year-old still has room in his schedule for tradition strength and conditioning exercises

At 6 ft 3in, Usyk requires calorie dense meals to fuel his physically demanding workouts

At 6 ft 3in, Usyk requires calorie dense meals to fuel his physically demanding workouts 

Diet 

Information on the heavyweight champion’s specific dietary plans are sparse, but if social media images of his dinners are anything to go by, it’s fair to assume he consumes a great deal of food. 

Standing at 6ft3in, calorie dense meals are likely to be essential for him to fuel the physically taxing workouts he undertakes. 

In one image posted on Instagram, Usyk can be seen attempting to make his way through a mammoth plate of food, including rice, vegetables and a healthy helping of protein. 

Transformation 

The boxer’s seamless transition to heavyweight has, in part, been aided by his stellar training regime and dedication to his profession. 

Nevertheless, the steady and considered way in which he has gained weight fight after fight should be commended and has played a crucial role in his ability to excel in the bigger division. 

Usyk cut a much leaner figure in his last fight as a cruiserweight against Tony Bellew (right)

Usyk cut a much leaner figure in his last fight as a cruiserweight against Tony Bellew (right)

The Ukrainian has bulked up in each of his heavyweight fights over the last few years

The Ukrainian has bulked up in each of his heavyweight fights over the last few years

Daniel Dubois will be one of the tallest and heaviest opponents Usyk has faced despite being slightly shorter and lighter than Anthony Joshua

Daniel Dubois will be one of the tallest and heaviest opponents Usyk has faced despite being slightly shorter and lighter than Anthony Joshua

Usyk’s final bout at cruiserweight came against Tony Bellew in 2018 and featured a comparatively leaner fighter weighing in at 199lbs. 

A year later, when he made his first foray into the heavyweight class, he had upped that to 215lbs. For the fight against Derek Chisora he weighed 217lbs. 

In Anthony Joshua, Usyk came up against the heaviest opponent her had faced since Witherspoon in his professional heavyweight debut with the Brit coming in at 240 and 244lbs in their two bouts. 

Still, at his heftiest mark of 221lbs Usyk was more than able to withstand Joshua’s weighty blows and maintain the hand speed that enabled him to dominate the cruiserweight division.