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Oleksandr Usyk makes professional football debut in Ukraine - yes, really

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Oleksandr Usyk turned out for FC Polissya
Oleksandr Usyk turned out for FC Polissya / Anadolu Agency/GettyImages
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Oleksandr Usyk is best known as the man responsible for ending Anthony Joshua' reign as WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion, but it appears he has a little more in his sporting locker than we first thought.

The Ukrainian, who will face Joshua in a rematch in June for three of Boxing's most coveted titles, not only has iron fists ready to unleash hell upon any face put in front of him, he's also a pretty keen footballer involved with local second tier side FC Polissya.

Usyk has been put through his paces at a winter training camp in Turkey this week, held ahead of Polissya's Persha Liga campaign which is due to get underway in March, and one of the club's directors hasn't ruled out offering him a professional contract – if he proves to be rather useful.

Whether or not he is remains to be seen, but Usyk did get the chance to strut his stuff and make his professional debut on Friday during a pre-season friendly against NK Veres Rivne.

So how did he get on? Not bad, in truth.

Unleashed for a short cameo with less than 15 minutes to go, Usyk was deployed as a striker by Polissya, with all eyes, cameras and attention unsurprisingly on him.

He immediately had a golden opportunity to bag himself a goal, only for a very bobbly pitch (of course we're blaming the surface, have you seen the guy?) to prevent him from firing home what would almost certainly have been a rocket into the top corner.

Usyk also went on a lung-bursting counter attack run in the dying embers of the game, only for a cynical foul on a teammate to deprive him of a one-on-one opportunity (and certain goal, obviously).

Nevertheless, despite not scoring, Usyk was clearly (our) man of the match, which is sure to be tremendous preparation for his second battle with Joshua in June. He won their first fight by unanimous decision at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

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