West Ham United winger Andriy Yarmolenko is hoping to lead a memorable Ukrainian sporting double this evening.
First, Yarmolenko and the Hammers will go for Premier League victory at reigning Champions Liverpool, before former Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion Oleksandr Usyk takes centre stage with Derek Chisora at The SSE Arena, Wembley.
The pair are arguably two of biggest sporting names in their country, and the Hammers star has wished his compatriot luck.
“Oleksandr! Welcome to London! I wish you good luck in your fight!” Yarmolenko smiled. “All Ukrainians will be supporting you.”
Usyk received a package of Claret and Blue goodies from the No.7 at his hotel, where he sat down with Matchroom to talk about his love of football, his admiration for Yarmolenko and look back on his Gold Medal winning performance at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
“We have to support each other,” said the 33-year-old. “He is a Ukrainian and I am a Ukrainian too. It doesn’t matter where we are. At the moment we are far away from our country, Andriy is playing for a London team and I am fighting in London too. This is totally normal that we have to support each other.
“If his team will win Andriy will win and will bring victory to Ukraine. The main thing for me is that Andriy will be playing there. If he wins it will be a victory for Ukraine as well.”
UFC Legend Khabib heaps praise on Usyk ahead of Chisora clash
UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov says he wants to see former Undisputed Cruiserweight World Champion Oleksandr Usyk take on WBC Heavyweight ruler Tyson Fury.
Dana White hailed Russia’s Nurmagomedov as the ‘GOAT’ and pound-for-pound best after he sensationally retired following his second-round stoppage of Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 in Abu Dhabi.
The undefeated Lightweight World Champion is a long-time fan of boxing, and was even spotted ringside for Anthony Joshua’s huge rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia last year, but it is Ukraine’s Usyk he wants to see share the ring with ‘The Gypsy King’, not ‘AJ’.
When asked for his assessment of the sport, prior to Vasiliy Lomachenko’s loss to Teofimo Lopez in Las Vegas, Khabib told reporters: “Right now, I think three guys. Oleksandr Usyk, Vasiliy Lomachenko and Canelo Alvarez.
“Oh sorry, Tyson Fury too. Four guys. It’s very hard [to decide] who is the best.
“I really want to see Usyk vs Fury. It’s gonna be a very good fight. He [Usyk] has very good skill and technique, Tyson Fury too.
“He is not like other Heavyweights, more technique, his footwork is very good, his conditioning is very good, I really wanna watch Usyk against Fury.”
Usyk (17-0, 13 KOs) sits as WBO Mandatory Challenger to Joshua, but must first deal with an in-form Derek Chisora at The SSE Arena Wembley on Saturday, shown live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK and DAZN in all of its nine markets including the U.S.
Saturday’s sporting double will both be broadcast live in the UK by Sky Sports, with West Ham’s Premier League clash with Liverpool kicking-off at 5.30pm on Sky Sports Premier League, followed by Usyk’s bout with Chisora that will be shown on Sky Sports Box Office, with coverage starting at 6pm.
Heavyweights Usyk and Chisora go toe-to-toe in London on a stacked card that also features Lee Selby (28-2, 9 KOs) and George Kambosos Jr (18-0, 10 KOs) in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Lightweight World Title, Hartlepool’s Savannah Marshall (8-0, 6 KOs) meets Glasgow’s Hannah Rankin (9-4, 2 KOs) for the vacant WBO Middleweight World title, Belfast’s Tommy McCarthy (16-2, 8 KOs) takes on Belgium’s Bilal Laggoune (25-1-2, 14 KOs) for the vacant European Cruiserweight Title, Amy Timlin (4-0) faces off with Carly Skelly (3-0) for the vacant Commonwealth Super-Bantamweight Title and Ramla Ali makes her professional debut against Eva Hubmeyer (1-0, 1 KO).