Oleksandr Usyk will make his professional football debut on Thursday in a surprising temporary career change.
Boxing’s WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight world champion has joined up with Ukrainian team FC Polissya Zhytomyr for their winter break in Turkey.
Polissya play in the Ukrainian First League (the second-tier of Ukrainian football).
The side are currently preparing to play in the Winter Cup – a series of friendlies for the purpose of keeping fit ahead of their return to league action.
In their first friendly on Thursday, Usyk will feature as a surprise addition to the squad.
The 35-year-old has joined Polissya in Turkey for training this week with brief clips being posted on social media.
It is currently unclear exactly what position Usyk will play, or for how long he will take part. Either way, the unified heavyweight champion is keeping up a fitness regime ahead of a big 2022. Usyk now looks set to rematch Anthony Joshua in his next fight.
Talks had been taking place about a potential deal for him to face Tyson Fury next in an undisputed title clash, with Joshua being paid millions to step aside.
However, these talks collapsed and so it’s expected that Usyk vs AJ 2 will come next.
Elsewhere in the heavyweight division, purse bids have been won for Fury to defend his WBC heavyweight title against Dillian Whyte.
Should he come through against Joshua once more, Usyk will be hoping to fight the winner of this bout and achieve his ultimate goal of becoming undisputed heavyweight world champion.