OLEKSANDR USYK is set to play in a friendly football match on Thursday as talks rumble on over a rematch with Anthony Joshua.
The 35-year-old is going to line up for Ukrainian second tier side FC Polissya later this week as the team embark on a winter training camp.
And the unified world heavyweight champion has been working with the rest of the squad as he brushes up on his football skills.
Usyk could be seen getting ready in the changing room, leaping for headers, and taking part in a practice match.
The downtime comes just days after a potential undisputed clash with Tyson Fury appeared to collapse.
Talks were ongoing between Usyk and Fury‘s camps about the possibility of both Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte stepping aside to allow the pair to meet for all the belts.
But nothing was ever agreed and purse bids went ahead for Fury’s mandatory defence against Whyte.
The Gypsy King’s promoter Frank Warren won the bid and is now hoping to stage the fight in April.
After talks between Fury and Usyk broke down, Whyte and Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn accused the WBC champion of ducking the Ukrainian.
He told iFL TV: “The reality of the situation is; we would be willing to see a long-form agreement with a plan for AJ.
“But we’re not even at that stage. Tyson Fury had the opportunity to discuss – Fury doesn’t want to fight Usyk, in my opinion.
“Because he had the opportunity to do it through these discussions and really, when it came down to it, he really don’t want to.
“What Fury wants to do is have a little easy one in March, that’s what he really wants to do.
“Now, he’s going to have to fight Dillian Whyte, and by the way, after all of this kerfuffle, he’ll get beat by Dillian Whyte, he’ll get knocked out by Dillian Whyte.”
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Meanwhile, the straightforward option for Usyk is now expected to be a rematch against Joshua in the first half of 2022.
Usyk beat the Brit by unanimous decision at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.
And if the former undisputed cruiserweight champion can defeat AJ yet again, he is then expected to face the winner of Fury vs Whyte before the end of the year.