Why Oleksandr Usyk gets an unusual haircut ahead of Anthony Joshua fight

Why Oleksandr Usyk gets an unusual haircut ahead of Anthony Joshua fight
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Oleksandr Usyk in his new haircut

Anthony Joshua is looking for revenge as he takes on Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk in a rematch in Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.

Usyk remains unbeaten after winning by unanimous decision last time the two boxers met, inflicting only the second defeat of Joshua’s career.

However, this time, Usyk will do so with a different look after a haircut which leaves him with a strand of hair and a semi-shaven head, in tribute to his national history and culture as he represents Ukraine.

What is an oseledets haircut?

The oseledets haircut is a popular one in the history of the Cossacks, who originate from south and eastern Ukraine and parts of Russia.

It was originally linked to Viking styles which date all the way back to when they took Kyiv from the Slavic people in the 10th century.

More recently, it rose to popularity in the 1990s following Ukraine’s independence, having previously been a popular option among Ukrainian nationalists earlier on that century.

“You should know that Cossack oseledets haircut and hopak on the ring are not simply part of an image for me, they are a tribute to our history and culture,” Usyk explained in a press conference.

This is not the first time that Usyk has worn an oseledets haircut, as he actually took the same approach in the London 2012 Olympic Games as he represented Ukraine.

Usyk’s hopak dance

This is not the first time that Usyk has looked to represent his culture and history in the ring and did so after beating Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in September 2021.

There, he performed the hopak dance which includes jumps, spins and is usually improvised by a lead or solo male dancer.

This too comes from Cossack history and culture and is a popular folk dance in parts of Ukraine.

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