Former Heavyweight Champions Vitali, Wladimir Klitschko To Fight For Ukraine
Former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko said he will defend his country from Russia’s invasion.
Klitschko, who has been the mayor of Kyiv since 2014, said he plans to be on the forefront and take up arms for Ukraine, his home country with his brother, Wladimir. Russia invaded Ukraine in the early hours of Thursday with airstrikes on military bases and civilians. Klitschko is one of the Ukrainian leaders who are urging for support.
“It’s already a bloody war,” Klitschko said Thursday on ITV’s “Good Morning Britain.” “… I don’t have another choice. I have to do that. I would fight.”
Tensions arose after Russian military presence appeared near Ukraine and grew exponentially by December. Klitschko made it clear that they were going to prepare for anything.
Wladimir enlisted in Ukraine’s reserve army in Kyiv earlier this month.
“Now, the Russian president [Vladimir Putin] is using war rhetoric … he makes it clear that he wants to destroy the Ukrainian state and the sovereignty of its people,” Wladimir Klitschko wrote on Linkedin on Thursday.
“Words are followed by missiles and tanks. Destruction and death come upon us. … We will defend ourselves with all our might and fight for freedom and democracy.”
Other active Ukrainian boxers are being impacted.
Vasiliy Lomachenko, a three-division champion, fled to Greece.
Unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk was in London earlier this week for a meeting reportedly related to an upcoming boxing video game. He returned to Ukraine on Thursday.
“Some wrote to me that I ran away; I didn’t, I was at work but I’m back, I’m home,” Usyk said in an Instagram video in comments translated from Russian.
“Friends, we have to unite because it’s a hard time right now and I’m really emotional and worry about my country, and our people. Friends, we have to stop this war; all of us together.
Former 140-pound champion Viktor Postol fights Saturday in Las Vegas against Gary Antuanne Russell. He said it’s hard not to think about what’s happening, but he will have his “people” there and ensures his family is safe.