If you want to make God smile, just tell him about your future plans.
The quote comes from the Ukrainian boxer Oleksandr Usyk. The quote is probably not his own invention but that was the answer he gave, when asked by a sports journalist whether he intended to box against the world champion in a weight class above himself – something that very few boxers have done.
You may never heard of Oleksandr Usyk if you, unlike me, are not a supporter of a good boxing match. Contrary to what one popularly hears about boxers, especially if one is to be politically correct in intellectual company, then it is not the heaviest and most powerful who win. Nor are they the dumbest. They are the smartest, most strategic and most well-prepared. It is the less wise who get brain damage and become demented prematurely. The myth of the stupid boxer who, by default, has had his brain smashed out is just a myth.
A short bio about Oleksandr Usyk before we move on: He became Olympic champion in his former weight class (cruiserweight, the class under heavyweight) in 2012. He is the only one to have won all the belts in cruiserweight and is now also world champion in heavyweight (in the federations WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO), where he has gone up against the heaviest boys in the world, even though he only just crawled over the weight limit. Most recently in late September 2021, he took the title from the British superstar Anthony Joshua, who also became Olympic champion in his class in 2012.
In short, the difference between amateur boxing and professional boxing is the number of rounds + the use of a helmet – and that in principle there is no money in play.
I think you might be sitting wondering yourself, what the point is of bringing the topic of boxing and this figure to the fore in this context. You may also be one, who do not like the thought or sight of people beating each other up. But hang on, there are several important point.
Let it also be stated, that boxing as one of the only sports resets the duel to its original form. The moment the bell rings, all chances of escape disappear – unless the fight is rigged, there are corrupt judges, or doping occurs. A Mexican boxer years ago was also caught sewing metal bolts into the boxing glove. We disregard these extremities. Boxing is cash settlement at checkout 1.
One of the topics when we talk about Oleksandr Usyk is the nation Ukraine. Ukrainian boxing has had a string of world boxers: Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko and Vasyl Lomachenko to name a few. Ukrainians have a national and historical pride that goes back to the very formation of Russia. Kiev is Russia’s birthplace of the first nation called Kievan Rus. And we as Danes may have a share in it, because it is said that some brothers belonging to a tribe of Varangians, which both Danes and Swedes claim for origin, were hired to lead the formation of the nation.
Ukrainians have a historical problem with Soviet-era Russia, and they will never forget the Holodomor, the massacre carried out on the orders of Stalin, which wiped out half of the Ukrainian population. If you want to know the reason for this world historical outrage, read The Russian Revolution.
In 2012, Ukraine was subjected to a US NeoCon-CIA coup that brought a concoction of old-Nazis and neo-fascists to power. The purpose was twofold: to plunder the country for resources, as the CIA and the Americans always do – and to poke a poisonous peg into Russia’s front yard by staging a civil war. The starting shot was a new massacre in Odessa, where agent provocateurs shot at the police behind a protesting crowd to provoke open conflict as a pretext for the takeover. NATO was deeply involved in the simultaneous attempt to steal the Crimean Peninsula from Russia, Russia’s naval base since Zarina, Catherine the Great and the home of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Should Russia roll over and voluntarily surrender it to NATO simply because of Western propaganda? The shooting down of a plane from Malaysia, where all data was stolen by NATO and smeared on the Russians, was part of the filthy operation. It was during the same period, that the Russians were formally and legally invited to help the Syrians defeat the CIA-Mossad-Saudi project ISIS. The incumbent pseudo-president, Joe Biden, through his drug-addicted son, received many millions in bribes from companies in Ukraine and similar companies in China.
Why all the historical hype about Ukraine! Because the country has the best agricultural land in the whole world. The black earth. Europe’s bread basket was called Ukraine. Two key words about the political upheaval: depletion and closure. That was what the slaughter of family-owned farms in Ukraine was about. That was what Holodomor was all about. That was what the 1917 revolution was all about.
Another of the topics is the Orthodox Church in Russia and thus also Ukraine. It is very strong in the popular consciousness. Which brings us back to the boxer figure, Oleksandr Usyk, who in addition to being a folk hero in Ukraine is now also a popular figure internationally.
The immediate answer is Usyk’s success in boxing, his masculinity and his humor. There is a whole strip of video clips on the internet where he is trolling the stupid sports journalists. But an overlooked but in turn essential element is his faith in God. When he arrives at the boxing ring, he is wearing a necklace with a cross. Next, he kneels in his boxer corner and excludes his audience for a while while his opponents meanwhile walk around the manege and pump their egos. He thus has an inner strength through his religiosity.
After winning a fight, he kneels on the canvas in an act of gratitude. Directly asked what his ‘message’ is to the world, he becomes silent for a few seconds, after which he says: Everything I do, is to the glory of God. Interesting. It was the same as J.S. Bach wrote as the last in his scores: Soli Deo Gloria – alone to the glory of God. So a musical boxer. A bunch of other video clips show how, during his training, he constantly breaks out into dancing. One of his signatures is his legwork. As Muhammad Ali said: I will dance like a butterfly and sting like a bee. In 2018, Usyk received the Mohammed Ali Award.
It is common in the professional boxing world, that players run a bladder-ass media stunt where they slander their opponents and demean them before a fight. And the media, like the pig dogs they are, throws themselves drooling over it. Usyk refuses to play that game and never scolds his opponents. He teases them, but he never demeans them unsolicited. He smiles at those he shrugs, then punishes them for their hubris in the ring.
There’s something going on here, that’s worth noting. This boxer’s audience = his fans in both East and West like the style. But I think it goes deeper than that. The world is looking for heroes and icons who demonstrate integrity, courage and depth, who are adults and respectful people, and who are not engrossed in their megalomaniacal ego. There must be a definite courage to stand by one’s faith in God today – especially in the God-forsaken West. This is why diluted-toothless coaching-Buddhism and anxiety-suppressing valium-style mindfulness have become popular, for Buddhism does not speak directly of God, and in its diluted form one never reaches as far as to discover the duel – an archetype that God was there all the time and that the lack of direct speech is intended at the very encounter with God.