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Boxer Usyk on his experiences in the Ukraine war: "Please don't let me shoot anyone else"

2022-07-01T15:45:18.106Z

In September he became heavyweight world champion in London, and a little later he fought in Ukraine against Putin's troops. Oleksandr Usyk wants to dedicate the rematch against Anthony Joshua to his friends at the front.



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Oleksandr Usyk at a press conference in London: He is wearing a T-shirt with the inscription "Colors of Freedom" in blue and yellow, the colors of the Ukrainian flag

Photo:

Alex Pantling/Getty Images

In front of a crowd of more than 60,000, Oleksandr Usyk defeated local hero Anthony Joshua at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

The Ukrainian heavyweight world champion described what he experienced afterwards away from the boxing ring in his home country during his return visit to London, where he had promoted the rematch on August 20 in Saudi Arabia this week. 

“Every day that I was there, I prayed and asked, 'Please, God, don't let anyone try to kill me.

Please don't let anyone shoot me.

And please don't let me shoot anyone else,'” Usyk is quoted as saying in the British “Guardian”.

After Russia's attack on Ukraine in February, the boxer joined the territorial defense battalion in Kyiv.

While he was patrolling the streets with a machine gun, he was terrified.

The "territorial defense", to which the battalion in Kiev belongs, is a nationally organized formation of volunteers who are mainly at checkpoints and have recently been increasingly sent to combat missions.

It is organized by the state.

training resumed

In March he left the war to resume training in Poland.

According to CNN, he received permission from the Ukrainian Minister of Sport.

In fact, since the beginning of the Russian invasion, men between the ages of 18 and 60 have not been allowed to leave Ukraine.

At first he hesitated, he told the Reuters news agency.

An experience in a Kiev hospital changed his mind.

The injured soldiers there asked him to "fight for the country."

The 35-year-old added that he would no longer be involved in outreach once he returned.

He knew that someone as famous as he was would not be allowed to go to the front.

“I know that many of my friends who are very close to me are on the front lines right now, fighting.

What I'm doing right now is supporting them.

With this fight I wanted to give them some kind of joy in between,” Usyk said, according to Reuters.

For Usyk, defeating Joshua was his 19th win in his 19th professional fight.

He was the cruiserweight world champion from 2014 to 2018.

Before turning pro, Usyk had fought 350 amateur fights, losing just 15 of them.

ngo/Reuters

Source: spiegel

All sports articles on 2022-07-01

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