The Ukrainian war continues as a businessman and athlete working with DAZN face a backlash with the conflict raging towards the capital of Kyiv.
Vitali Klitschko, a former boxer, is trying to hold up Russian forces from taking his Mayoral city. His brother Wladimir, also a three-time heavyweight champion, stands alongside his older sibling during the fighting.
Now, just three years after turning down a DAZN contract to return to the sport, Wladimir is calling for DAZN to yank their main event of the year just a short time after confirmation.
On May 7th, Canelo Alvarez, boxing’s pound for pound king, fights Dmitry Bivol. His foe is a Russian world light-heavyweight champion.
Due to the ongoing situation between Russia and Ukraine, Wladimir stated it was wrong to put a Russian in such a high-profile event in Las Vegas.
“It is important that this boxer is forbidden from fighting in America, just as all Russian athletes are getting banned from international competition,” said ‘Dr. Steelhammer.’
Klitschko’s reasoning has a lot to do with the things he sees every day as Ukraine continues to get bombarded by Russian forces.
“They should see where I’m at [right now]. They should know that the policy of their president is aggression. Killing the innocent,” Klitschko told CNN.
“The truth is on our side, and we stand for our right for freedom.”
DAZN’s owner Len Blavatnik made some of his money through a Russian oil company.
According to Forbes, Blavatnik is worth over $30 billion. He was “Born in Ukraine, raised north of Moscow. Blavatnik emigrated to the U.S. in 1978 for school.
“He studied computer science at Columbia University and “made a fortune selling his stake in Russian oil company TNK-BP for $7 billion in 2013.”
Although it hasn’t happened yet, Bivol’s involvement in their biggest show of the year could be the tip of the iceberg for DAZN as Russian sanctions become more widespread.
Vitali added his views on Russians feeling the full force of the West turning their backs on the country until they pull out of Ukraine.
‘This is not against the individual sportsman. But Ukraine needs the world to apply every pressure on Russia,” Vitali said, according to The Daily Mail.
The WBA, with whom Bivol is champion, faces calls from more than just the Klitschko’s to remove him from the Canelo bout.
Their recent actions seem to fly in the face of allowing a Russian fighter to make the most significant purse of his career.
CANELO vs. BIVOL
They said: “The WBA will exclude Russian and Belarusian boxers from the next ranking lists.
“The measure is temporary and will be reviewed month by month.
“Current world or regional champions will maintain their status. This will also be subject to review by the respective Committee.
“Russian and Belarusian officials will also be banned from participating in any world and regional championship fights. This is according to a resolution from the WBA Executive Committee.
“Promoters or teams of Russian boxers who violate this provision may be sanctioned.”
That said, allowing a Russian fighter to compete just because of his status as champion doesn’t resonate with those rules.
However, Bivol has stated he is vehemently against the war in Ukraine. He said he wanted peace in the region. These words should count for something, even if Russian sport is under fire.
Canelo has yet to comment but could soon consider a new opponent if things escalate against DAZN and Bivol.
It’s not sure if there is a backup plan in place.
The views expressed in this article are opinions of Phil Jay.
Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Founding editor of World Boxing News since 2010. WBN has over one billion views on all platforms.
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