Former heavyweight champion and boxing legend Wladimir Klitschko is mourning the loss of 22-year-old boxing champion Maksym Galinichev.
A European amateur titlist and Olympic youth medalist, Galinichev was killed in battle against the Russian Army near Kreminna.
Galinichev was tipped for great things after he won silver at the Games in Buenos Aires in 2018. Klitschko agrees that this continued slaying of Ukrainians is why athletes from Russia must be banned from the 2024 Paris Olympics.
Klitschko said: “The IOC authorizes the Russian and Belarusian athletes to participate in the Olympic Games under “neutral flag.”
“This decision is a false flag. Thomas Bach serves the colors and interests of Russia. This decision contaminates the Olympic spirit and is like this war: nonsense,” he added.
Speaking alongside his brother Vitali, a former world ruler in the sport, Wladimir discussed their plight against Vladimir Putin’s forces.
Wladimir told Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty: “I believe any Ukrainian can be on that list because Putin’s Russia wants to own or possess Ukraine but not Ukrainians.
“And that’s precisely what their propaganda is saying: that the Ukrainian nation was created, it did not exist before. And that we Ukrainians are a mistake of history.
“We’ve heard about in the 1930s, [Adolf Hitler and the leadership of] the Third Reich [asserted] that if you want to destroy a nation, you have to erase its history.
And that’s exactly what Russia is doing — trying to erase our history, museums, and language.
“By the way, I’m using more Ukrainian [now]; I’m not a native Ukrainian speaker. But language is one of the nation’s important tools. And Russia is trying to rewrite history completely.”
Vitali added: “It’s not a fair question to compare war and sport. Sport has clear rules; if you break the rules, you get disqualified.
“This war. It has no rules. And it’s not a war; it’s terrorism.”
“Dr. Ironfist” added: “Civilians, women, children, and old people are killed without reason. But one thing is the same in sport and this war, and it’s essential: spirit, a will to win.
“We see how the Ukrainian people show the will to win and spirit. We see how motivated Ukrainian people are. Many experts around the world gave us a couple of days or maybe a couple of weeks to [withstand the battle] against the second strongest army in the world, the Russian Army.”
Galinichev’s loss is devastating to the sport as it could have been avoided. Nobody is safe as the war continues to rage.