23/03/2012 03:55 GMT

Usher To Play Boxing Legend Sugar Ray Leonard In 'Hands Of Stone'

R&B singer Usher is stepping into the ring to play boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard in an upcoming film.

The Confessions hitmaker will portray the now-retired champion in Hands of Stone, a new biopic about Panamanian fighter Roberto Duran, played by Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal.

And although the Grammy Award winner has yet to meet Leonard, Usher admits he's already begun honing his skills.

He tells BBC News: "If you see me in the corners boxing... I'm in preparation for a very incredible role. If you guys see me running around London that's what it is."

The movie, which is set to begin filming later this year, will also feature Robert De Niro as iconic trainer Ray Arcel.

Usher last hit the big screen in 2010 in Ashton Kutcher and Katherine Heigl's Killers.