Oleksandr Usyk had to be rescued by coaches after he fainted while trying to hold his breath underwater as an amateur during extreme training sessions with Ukraine’s national boxing team
- Oleksandr Usyk credits his fantastic endurance to his swim training
- However, the Ukrainian’s attempts to improve his cardio almost ended in disaster
- In one incident, Usyk had to be rescued by teammates after he passed out underwater
Unified world heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk once fainted during an extreme training exercise during his days as an amateur fighter.
Before his rematch triumph with Anthony Joshua last month, Usyk’s trainer Egis Klimas credited the former undisputed cruiserweight king’s incredible cardio in the ring to his long hours in the swimming pool and even boasted that the Ukrainian can hold his breath for four minutes and forty seconds under water.
However, using the pool as a training tool is not new to Usyk. The 35-year-old regularly used swimming training as a method to improve his stamina during his youth in Ukraine’s amateur boxing team.
Oleksandr Usyk described a horrific experience in which he almost drowned as a teenager
The Ukrainian fainted while trying to hold his breath underwater during training
Speaking on his YouTube channel USYK 17, the Ukrainian recalled a particularly harrowing experience in which his teammates had to jump into the pool to save him after he passed out underwater.
“You’re swimming and suddenly you have such pain in your knee and you think you can’t walk, you just can’t go on. A muscle is so tight and the pain is just unbearable. The pain is in your shoulder, your knee, or even the tips of your mustache.
“And you’re like, ‘Okay, I’m done, it’s better to stop and try next time.’ That means you can’t stop – if you start thinking like this, that’s the signal to keep going.
“You can’t give up. If you give up now, you will if you fight. It’s a breaking point that you will definitely hit during your fight. Every athlete knows what it is. No one can do anything the “next time,” so you just don’t stop.
Usyk, 35, has been aiming for an undisputed fight with Tyson Fury for next year
“You know, I’m a bit crazy and that’s why my trainers are watching me closely. If I pass out, they will save me. Once, while holding my breath underwater, I fainted for a moment and was immediately pulled out of the pool.”
After defeating Joshua in August, Usyk was set to face fellow heavyweight Tyson Fury in a bout that would have determined the first undisputed heavyweight champion since Lennox Lewis.
However, as talks of a Fury-Joshua fight heat up, it seems the Ukrainian may have to wait for his opportunity to make history against the Gypsy King.