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Usher Raymond is branching out from his usual singing and dancing to star in his first leading role as boxer Sugar Ray Leonard in the upcoming film Hands of Stone.

The Grammy Award winner recently caught up with the Huffington Post to discuss his excitement and preparation for the role.

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“I’m up for the challenge, and I’m looking forward to it. I think my overall feeling is one of anticipation. It seems like this is a real passion project. It’s a film that everybody is so invested in, and I have the good fortune of having the character I’m playing still around,” he said. “He had such incredible discipline, and he was flashy and classy at the same time. I want to be as passionate and dedicated in preparing for this role as he was every time he stepped into the ring.”

He went on to say that his dancing skills are helping him learn his way around the ring.

“You couldn’t find a more stylized boxer than Sugar Ray Leonard. He was an incredible motion guy, the way he moved around the ring, and I think my dancing will make it easier for me to pick up his moves,” he said. “I’ve been working on familiarizing myself with the ring, sparring and just understanding how to move in the ring.”

The film, which is currently in pre-production, will be shot in Panama and centered around the 1980 fight between Sugar Ray and Roberto Duran.


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