Oleksandr Usyk stripped of honors over involvement in Ukraine defense

World heavyweight boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk has been stripped off of his Crimean honors after he enrolled in an army to defend Ukraine.

Oleksandr Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua in September last year and won the WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, and IBO heavyweight titles. After becoming the unified heavyweight champion, Oleksandr Usyk decided to put his career as a professional boxer on hold in order to defend his country. The Ukrainian boxer returned and joined Kyiv Territorial Defense.

Oleksandr Usyk was born in the Crimean city of Simferopol and received title Crimean honors. But, due to his involvement in the war and his acttions against Russia, he will be relieved of the honorary title. The chairman of the Crimean Parliament Vladimir Konstantinov revealed a list of Ukrainian people who are going to be relieved of honors and Usyk is one of them.

“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 told RIA.

Crimea is a peninsula made up mostly of ethnic Russians with significant Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar minorities.

The 35-year urged Russian soldiers to stop the attack early on.

“Good morning, my name is Usyk Oleksandr. I want to appeal to the Russian people. If you consider us brotherly people, do not let your military, your children, go to our country. Stop attacking us!” Oleksandr said in a video.

He’s since left Ukraine in order to prep for his boxing bout with a special permission.

While speaking with PravdaTUT Lviv, Usyk’s wife Kateryna said, “Sasha lost 10 kilograms (22 lbs) in a week of the war. He was so horrified, in such shock, he was so torn apart. I said, ‘Sasha, please, people are asking, you need to speak, somehow support.’ It is very difficult for him. He doesn’t really like giving interviews in peacetime anyway. Now it’s difficult for him, but he still goes on the air to say something.” 

“His position is clear, he has always been for Ukraine. He has always glorified it and will glorify it for as long as he has enough health and strength.”