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Home » Oleksandr Usyk cast as MMA fighter in Dwayne Johnson movie

Oleksandr Usyk cast as MMA fighter in Dwayne Johnson movie

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New undisputed heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk will star alongside Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in a new MMA movie.

Johnson has begun filming ‘The Smashing Machine’ – a film based on the real-life story of UFC champion Mark Kerr. Usyk, fresh from his victory over Tyson Fury at the weekend, will join the Hollywood icon to portray Ukrainian kickboxer Igor ‘Ice Cold’ Vovchanchyn.

Usyk, the current Pound for Pound King of Boxing, will take on the role despite little acting experience. The casting comes as Johnson wanted somebody with combat experience to share the ring for authenticity. Johnson and Usyk will shoot a scene from when Kerr and Vovchanchyn squared off in Yokohama, Japan, back in 1999 at PRIDE 7. The bout will feature as part of the plot and show Usyk having significant screen time in his first major role.

WWE legend Johnson, who had a run to Wrestlemania 40 recently, put out images of a stunning transformation into Kerr. ‘The Smashing Machine’ was a two-time UFC Heavyweight Tournament Champion, World Vale Tudo Championship tournament winner, and a PRIDE FC competitor. In collegiate wrestling, Kerr was also the NCAA Division I champion.

The Smashing Machine

The tagline for the blockbuster, directed by Benny Safdie and written by Kerr himself alongside Safdie, reads: “Dwayne “THE ROCK” Johnson will portray former MMA/UFC champion Mark Kerr, aka “The Smashing Machine,” in a story based on the true events surrounding Kerr’s life and rise through the MMA world, which was unfortunately derailed by his opioid addiction.”

“The Smashing Machine” is due for release in 2025 and also stars Academy Award-nominated actress Emily Blunt, plus ‘Bachelor Canada’ Reality TV star Lyndsey Gavin alongside Johnson and Usyk.

Read all articles and exclusive interviews by Phil Jay. Learn more about the author, experienced boxing writer, and World Boxing News Editor since 2010. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.