Oleksandr Usyk is preparing for his rematch with Anthony Joshua after fighting for Ukraine ©Getty Images

Olympic boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk of Ukraine has spoken of the military assault facing his country after taking up arms against Russian forces.

Usyk, a gold medallist at London 2012, made his dream come true in September 2021 when he stunned Britain’s Anthony Joshua to become heavyweight champion of the world.

Five months later, Usyk found himself on the battlefield after returning to Ukraine to fight for his country.

"I had to cancel a direct flight to Kyiv," Usyk told Profiboxing.cz.

"I came back via Poland.

"It took a day to get to Kyiv.

"Then another two to see my family and I calmed down a bit.

"I know they shot at our house, broke down the gate, and dragged away some of our neighbours.

"But I don’t know what it looks like there now.

"We can’t get in touch with anyone.

"It’s terrible when yours run to hide in the basement at every rustle."

Oleksandr Usyk captured the men's heavyweight gold at the London 2012 Olympics ©Getty Images
Oleksandr Usyk captured the men's heavyweight gold at the London 2012 Olympics ©Getty Images

Usyk was pictured holding a gun alongside soldiers as Russia waged war on Ukraine but he said he never used the weapon.

"I was brought up in the Orthodox faith, which teaches us not to judge others," said Usky.

"But for me, whoever supports war is a schizophrenic, a sick person.

"I may have picked up a gun, but that doesn’t mean I would use it."

Usyk joined other Ukrainian athletes including fellow boxers Vasily Lomachenko and the Klitschko brothers in the fight against Russia.

As an amateur boxer, Usyk claimed heavyweight gold at the 2008 European Championships before securing the world title in 2011.

He then became Olympic champion at London 2012 after defeating Italy’s Clemente Russo in the men's heavyweight final.

The 35-year-old has now left the war in Ukraine to prepare for his rematch with Joshua which could take place in Saudi Arabia in late June.

"[Joshua is] excited by the news, he’s over the moon," said Eddie Hearn, chairman of Matchroom Boxing which promotes Joshua.

"I saw him at the UFC [United Fighting Championship] and he wants to fight now.

"He was getting to a stage where he had to fight, and this has really forced the issue with Usyk because we said to them that we understood the situation, but we needed to know now."