WATCH: Icelandic heavyweight Kolbeinn Kristinsson on sparring Tyson Fury, future Usyk fight
REYKJAVIK, Iceland — Like any rising heavyweight, Kolbeinn Kristinsson has visualized the day he gets his shot at the world championship. The 35-year-old from Iceland has watched from a distance as Oleksandr Usyk has risen to win three of the four major title belts at heavyweight, defending the belts twice in the past two years.
The 6’6” Kristinsson thinks he can succeed where others have fallen short.
“A lot of guys that fight him, it’s like they don’t understand angles or movement. So it’s easy for Usyk to just move around and hit him in the right spots. But if I countered all the angles, all the movements and then pressure him, he’ll break,” said Kristinsson (13-0, 7 knockouts) in a video interview with The Ring at an amateur boxing show in near Iceland’s capital of Reykjavik.
First, Kristinsson has to get busier in the ring. Kristinsson hasn’t fought since October of 2022, when he knocked out journeyman Santander Silgado in two rounds in Florida.
“If I can get the ball rolling, put a couple of fights together, get a couple of good wins, I’ll be fighting these big guys and knocking them out,” said Kristinsson.
“I’m gonna get a lot better in the next year and a half. The skills that I have now are gonna get a lot better. Just by the skills that I have now I can compete with the best guys. So if I get better I’ll beat them.”
Despite having just one local boxer that he can spar with in Iceland, Kristinsson isn’t inexperienced when it comes to being in the ring with some of the best boxers in the division.
Kristinsson is trained by Javan “Sugar” Hill, who also trains RING heavyweight champion Tyson Fury. The two have sparred before, and the experience was an eye opener for “The Ice Bear.”
“The first time, I had never experienced anything like that. I get it when guys fight him and they’re shell-shocked. It’s different. That’s why he’s number one,” said Kristinsson, who has also sparred with former WBO heavyweight titleholder Joseph Parker and contender Robert Helenius.
Kristinsson, who is the only male pro boxer in his country, also discussed legislation which would legalize professional boxing in Iceland for the first time since it was banned in 1956. He hopes the legislation passes, and that he can celebrate it in style.
“It’s my dream to defend the world championship belt in Iceland, not just fight here,” said Kristinsson.
Ryan Songalia has written for ESPN, the New York Daily News, Rappler and The Guardian, and is part of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism Class of 2020. He can be reached at [email protected].