Wladimir Klitschko has reiterated his desire to fight for Ukraine following the invasion by Russia, saying “I am Ukrainian, and I am a fighter”.
Prior to the invasion of Russia last week, former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko joined Ukraine’s army, and once the invasions began his brother Vitali – mayor of Kyiv – confirmed he would join too.
Usyk, who is set to face Britain’s Anthony Joshua in a re-match in May or June, has become the latest boxer from Ukraine to take up arms, joining the Kyiv Territorial Defense and pictured holding an assault rifle.
The WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight world champion is the latest of four professional or ex-professional boxers to sign up.
On Sunday, Vasyl Lomachenko joined the Belgorod-Dnestrovsky Territorial Defense.
“I am Ukrainian, and I am a fighter,” Wladimir Klitschko said on Monday.
“Our strongest force is the will and desire to live in a free country, and we have chosen the direction we want to go.
“We are a European country and we want to make sure that our values are going to be implemented rightly into our society, and no one else is going to decide for us how we should live.
“Kyiv has not been bombed since 1941, when the Nazis bombed and attacked Kyiv. It’s so weird to actually hear explosions in the city day-by-day and shootings, and seeing all the images all around the country where people suffer.
“And in Kyiv, it’s getting into a humanitarian, catastrophic event, and that’s why every hour counts.”
Usyk said in a social media video over the weekend: “I’d like to speak to the people of Russia. If we consider ourselves as brothers, orthodox ones. Do not let your children to set out to our country, do not fight with us.
“Also I’m addressing this to the President Vladimir Putin. You can stop this war. Please just sit down and negotiate it with us without claims.
“Our kids, wives, grannies are hiding in the basements… We are here in our own country, we cannot do it other way – we are defending…Stop it! Stop this war.”