Boxers Oleksandr Usyk and Vasyl Lomachenko, along with former tennis player Sergiy Stakhovsky, are ready to take arms in defense of their country.
In the same way that brothers and ex-World Heavyweight Boxing champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko enlisted in the Ukrainian army to defend their country’s sovereignty, other professional sports figures have decided to do the same and take up arms.
Oleksandr Usyk, the 35-year-old boxer who last September became world heavyweight champion by defeating Britain’s Anthony Joshua, made the decision to travel from London to Kiev to join his country’s troops.
For his part, Vasyl Lomachenko chose to do the same and traveled from Greece to the city of Odessa to join a territorial defense battalion in Ukraine.
The 34-year-old two-time Olympic gold medalist shared a photograph on his social media showing him wearing a military uniform.
A few weeks ago, Lomachenko had agreed to a fight against George Kambosos for the world lightweight title, which would take place on June 5 in Australia. However, his future in boxing now will depend on what happens with the war.
As news spread that at least four Ukrainian current and former world champion boxers had joined the armed forces, Nikola Kovalchuk, president of WBC Ukraine, applauded the athletes’ determination.
“We are very proud of our boxers, our true champions in boxing and champions in this war. We are proud to be Ukrainians,” he said.
The list of elite athletes who have chosen to defend their nation has grown to include former tennis player Sergiy Eduárdovich Stakhovsky who reached 31st place on the ATP. Now a military reservist, the 36-year-old is waiting to be called when required.
“Of course I will fight, it’s the only reason I’m trying to go back. I applied for a reservist last week. I have no military experience, but I do have my own personal firearm,” he told Sky News.