Isaac Chamberlain claims he thought he was going to get “killed” as he gave a rare insight into what it is like training at Oleksandr Usyk’s gym. Up until the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine, Usyk trained out of his country’s Olympic institute of which little is known.
Chamberlain was brought in to spar ‘The Cat’ for two camps at Usyk’s former headquarters and gave an eerie recollection of his journey to the isolated facility. Speaking to iD Boxing, he said: “Literally in the middle of nowhere, it was weird I thought I started seeing animals and stuff. It was literally in the middle of nowhere. I remember we got into the car from the airport and drove for like two hours with no streetlights and I was thinking we’re gonna get killed here bruv.”
Chamberlain boxes Chris Billam-Smith this weekend in Bournemouth for the local man’s European and Commonwealth cruiserweight titles. The Brixton boxer is currently 14-1 with the sole blemish of his career coming against current WBO world champion Lawrence Okolie.
Throughout his career, Chamberlain has always looked for the best possible sparring and has shared the ring with Deontay Wilder, Anthony Joshua, and of course Usyk. Speaking about his rounds with the latter, he continued: “He’s a master boxer, he’s very, very good, very, very good, he’s like we’re playing chess together because obviously I had very fast hands so they brought we back again and again and they wanted to bring me back again but I was like ‘I can’t really do that right now.’”
He said: “He [Amanzholov] says there are days when Usyk goes to war with him. It’s not easy to hurt Nursultan but he’s been on the receiving end a few times. But a lot of his heavyweights have been sent back home, if they can’t stay in camp. They can’t keep up.”
Ali added: “He said as soon as [Usyk] came back from Jeddah, from the press conference, the day he arrived back, he phoned up Nursultan who was sitting in his hotel and said to him, ‘I want you sparring today.’ Literally got off the plane and started sparring straightaway and [Amanzholov] said he was in a foul mood. He was in a really angry mood, wanted to go to war.