Heavyweight Boxing Champion Oleksandr Usyk Joins A24’s ‘The Smashing Machine’

Newly crowned Undisputed World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Oleksandr Usyk has joined the cast of A24’s “The Smashing Machine” as MMA legend Igor Vovchanchyn, the company announced on Friday.

The film stars Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt in the lead roles. “The Smashing Machine” is written and directed by Benny Safdie and produced and financed by A24.

“The Smashing Machine” is a drama based on the story of Mark Kerr, the legendary MMA fighter from the no-holds-barred era of the UFC. He struggles with addiction, winning, love and friendship in the year 2000.

The film is Johnson’s move into his most dramatic project yet. Also of note, the film is Safdie’s solo directorial debut.

Johnson and Safdie have been collaborators on the project since Johnson’s and Dany Garcia’s Seven Bucks Productions acquired the rights in 2019. Seven Bucks Productions is producing alongside Safdie’s Out for the Count banner, Eli Bush and David Koplan.

Kerr is an American former wrestler and mixed martial artist. During his MMA career, he was a two-time UFC heavyweight champion, World Vale Tudo Championship tournament winner, a Pride FC heavyweight champion, 1992 NCAA national wrestling champion, 1994 National Freestyle champion and four-time ADCC World Submission champion. In 2003, Kerr was the subject of an HBO documentary titled “The Smashing Machine,” which detailed his MMA career fighting in Vale Tudo, the UFC and Pride.

Ukrainian boxer Usyk’s split decision win over Tyson Fury last weekend has made him the new star in the sport. While Fury has been the top heavyweight for years, Usyk nearly knocked Fury down in one round, which has now put him in the spotlight. This will be Usyk’s feature acting debut.

Deadline first reported the news.

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