There is a significant threat to life involving two Hall of Famers and two current pound-for-pound boxing stars during the Ukraine war.
Former heavyweight champions Wladimir Klitschko and brother Vitali – the Mayor of Kyiv, are in danger. Plus, current and former titleholders Vasiliy Lomacheno and Oleksandr Usyk.
They are all currently in the capital to defend their country.
As the Russian advance continues to put the squeeze on Kyiv, the level of danger for all four of the sport’s superstars has increased significantly.
There’s a real fear that enemy soldiers will kill one or more of the quartet in action. It could happen sooner rather than later.
Reports outside of Ukraine state that Lomachenko is looking into the possibility of leaving. He would then continue his boxing career as a fight with George Kambosos Jr. hangs in the balance.
The unified mandatory title clash was agreed upon before “Loma” went back into his war-torn country to enroll in the reserve forces.
There remains hope that Loamchenko will leave for training soon. However, Eddie Hearn and Devin Haney have been negotiating with Kambobos and his team in Lomachenko’s absence and could take the fight for themselves.
It’s a dilemma for Lomachenko. The longer he stays on home territory, he is in grave danger – as with the other trio.
Usyk was supposed to fight Anthony Joshua to repeat their London meeting last September. Hearn, also Joshua’s handler, wants his fighter to move on and face somebody else if Usyk cannot compete.
The contracted bout will have to take place later in the year if Usyk comes out of the fighting in one piece.
Regarding the Klitschko brothers, their survival is far more precarious. Both are on a target list for the Russian military. They will reportedly either be captured or shot if comprimised.
It’s a shocking situation for professional athletes to find themselves in, especially after enjoying stellar careers, the respect of their peers, and millions of dollars in prize money.
Fingers firmly remain crossed that all four make it out of the war with their lives. Eye-popping footage of the indiscriminate bombing of Ukrainian cities fills news footage and fans with dread.
If any boxers are in the wrong place at the wrong time, our sport will be mourning the loss of a great – no matter who is on the wrong end of a bloody and sickening battle.
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.
Attending over 200 events and scoring over 400 fights, Phil has overseen WBN to a quarter of a million followers on social media.
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