While a unification bout at Wembley against Tyson Fury is no longer on the cards, Oleksandr Usyk could still compete under the lights after swapping his boxing gloves for soccer boots and signing a contract with Ukrainian club Polissya.
Heavyweight champion Usyk, who trained as a footballer with Ukraine’s Tavriya Simferopol as a teenager before switching to boxing, on Wednesday signed a one-year “agreement on football cooperation” with the club and will wear the number 17 shirt.
The 36-year-old previously made a substitute appearance for Polissya in a friendly match last year.
Polissya will play in the Ukrainian Premier League in the 2023-24 season after earning promotion with a first-placed finish in last season’s second-tier Ukrainian First League.
“I respect and am proud of this man. His attitude to training is a great example for the Polissia team,” Polissya president Gennadiy Butkevych said in a statement on Thursday.
Usyk will next enter the boxing ring at the Tarczynski Arena in Wroclaw, Poland, on Aug. 26, where he will defend his IBF, IBO, WBO and WBA heavyweight titles against Britain’s Daniel Dubois.
Usyk is undefeated in 20 professional fights with 13 knockouts while Dubois has won 19 of his 20 bouts, losing one.