Oleksandr Usyk, the world’s heavyweight champion, got branded ‘Anti-Russian’ by officials of his birthplace in Crimea.
“Mr. I am Feel” fought in the war and identifies as Ukrainian. Born in Simferopol, Usyk speaks Russian but relocated to Kyiv.
For his sporting achievements, Crimea bestowed Usyk as an “Honored Worker of Physical Culture and Sports of Crimea” for his “fidelity to duty” to his homeland.
But when Usyk traveled to Ukraine to take up arms, Crimean Parliament Chairman began proceedings to remove those honors from Usyk.
Vladimir Konstantinov, speaking to RIA, confirmed Crimea had completed those moves against the heavyweight star.
“These are [people] who arranged and welcomed the water and energy blockade of Crimea, who question the fairness and legitimacy of our return to Russia, who stained themselves with Russophobia. Such people are not worthy of a good memory,” Konstantinov said of Usyk and those like him who support Ukraine.
Usyk has faced questions in the past, specifically in 2014, regarding his support for Crimea’s closeness to Russia.
In the past, Usyk has said: “My country is Ukraine. I live here, was born here, and grew up here.
“If I wanted to leave, I would have done that long ago.
“You won’t force me out because it’s my country. Don’t divide people. We are Ukrainian. I’m Ukrainian. It’s written in my passport.”
On his experience in the war, Usyk addressed Polish journalists when he left Ukraine to train for a rematch with Anthony Joshua.
“I was brought up in the Orthodox faith, which teaches us not to judge others. But for me, whoever supports war is a schizophrenic, a sick person,” reported Profiboxing.cz.
“I may have picked up a gun, but that doesn’t mean I would use it.”
USYK on PUTIN
Asked what he would say to Vladimir Putin if they met, Usyk concluded: “What would I say to him? Nothing.
“I’m not interested in the man. I have nothing to say to him.
“I didn’t think for a moment that I would stay there. This fight will be special for me in that respect.”
Usyk will battle AJ again this summer in either the United Kingdom or Saudi Arabia.
WBN Editor Phil has over ten years of boxing news experience. Follow WBN us on Twitter @WorldBoxingNews.