Usyk is due to face Joshua for a second time on August 20 after taking the British heavyweight’s WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO belts in an unanimous points decision at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.
Usyk is the favourite to retain his heavyweight titles in Saudi Arabia later this month and his recent body transformation has convinced fans it will be a ‘long night’ for Joshua.
Usyk stunned boxing fans after sharing his new figure on social media. The Ukrainian boxer shared a video clip which outlined the weight he had put on since the original fight, when he weighed in at at a career heaviest 221lb.
Many questioned how the 35-year-old went about changing his body ahead of his rematch with AJ… so, Sportsmail have looked at the weird and wonderful training methods the Ukrainian boxer uses. Usyk has used swimming as a way to get into shape for years and his trainer Anatoly Lomachenko – the father of lightweight boxer Vasyl – has encouraged him to undergo 10k open-air swims to build-up his stamina.
Lomachenko – who is also known for preparing underwater exercises for Usyk – put the heavyweight through a grueling regime ahead of his first fight with Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium.
Usyk spent five hours a day in the pool swimming laps according to his former opponent Dereck Chisora.
Chisora recalled the time he visited a bathhouse and bumped into Usky. He said: ‘I was just about to leave the Russian bathhouse that I go to when I am tired and hurt from training.
‘The owner told me to wait because he had a surprise,’ he said, as reported by the Sun. I sat down and all I heard was ‘Derek, Deeeerrrrrek’, just like he kept saying during the build-up to our fight.’I started talking and laughing with him and I told him he looked tired. He then told me he had just finished swimming for five hours.’
‘I told him he was lying, he couldn’t swim for five hours,’ he added. ‘But his trainer told me it was true and then showed me a video of him in this huge Olympic pool just going up and down for five hours.’
HOLDING HIS BREATH UNDER WATER
Swimming is not the only water-based activity Usyk does to improve his performance in the ring. He also practices holding his breath under water.
It seems like a strange thing to work on as a boxer, but there is scientific research that states working on your breathing helps increase your lung capacity which in turn aids your fitness levels.
Breath holding can also improve a boxer’s psychological preparedness and willpower in the ring as it primes the athlete for fighting while feeling breathless.
Vasyl – the son of Usyk’s coach – can famously hold his breath for four and a half minutes. He believes this form of training helps him reach his cognitive and physical peak. However, the big benefit for Usyk is the affect it has on his power. The 35-year-old has to generate more power to produce the force and energy needed to accelerate forwards while running on sand. Most people enjoy heading off on holiday and sinking their toes into the sand before trotting down to the sea. However, going to the beach has a whole different meaning for Usyk.
Usyk will use sand training to add diversity to his weekly workout schedule. This will force his body to work harder, while also keeping him more engaged in his training session.
Sand training is also a low impact form of exercise. It will prevent Usyk from suffering with any knee pain, shin splints or hip issues. It will also reduce Usyk’s chances of picking up an impact-related injury such as stress fractures.
Therefore, you see professional boxers performing the most bizarre abs exercises in the gym to strengthen their midriff.
Usyk shared a video on his Instagram page of him laying on his back and allowing his coach to relentlessly pummel a medicine ball onto his torso.
Both Tyson Fury and Tommy Fury have been filmed performing the same exercise in the gym. However, their decision to incorporate the move into their training programme came under fire.
Tommy was forced to withdraw from his fight with Jake Paul after suffering a broken rib. Many believe he sustained the injury by performing this particular ab exercise.