Russian athletes have suffered from international isolation since their country invaded Ukraine in February. But for Wladimir Klitschko, it’s not enough.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, their athletes have been ostracized by international sports communities in most sports. One sport which still welcomes Russians is MMA with a large number of elite athletes in the UFC being Russian.
Russia’s national and club football teams, for example, have been banned from international competitions including the 2022 FIFA World Cup. UEFA also canceled its $45 million a year sponsorship deal with Gazprom. Even the Champions League Final, which was scheduled to take place in St. Petersburg, also moved to Paris.
UFC banned athletes from carrying flags during walkouts in response to the invasion. The policy change was first revealed by Marlon Vera and later confirmed by former bantamweight champion Petr Yan.
Not stopping there, the International Paralympic Committee also banned Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the Paralympic Games.
In boxing, all four major sanctioning bodies, the WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO, have agreed to refuse to sanction any title bouts in Russia.
For athletes that may not involved in any politics in their country, that must be painful to be treated that way. But for the Ukrainian former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, it’s not painful enough.
‘Dr. Steelhammer’ has now called for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ban Russian athletes from competing.
“The IOC should ban the Russian team now. The war is going now, they cannot participate at the next Olympic games, they cannot participate at any athletic events because this war is represented by Russia,” he told “Piers Morgan Uncensored” on Fox Nation.
“Actions speak louder than words. Isolation, and this isolation speaks louder than any word or any line because isolation is painful.”
The IOC, on the other hand, has already excluded Russian athletes from international competitions. However, they still can compete as neutral athletes, a loophole that Klitschko also criticized.
“It’s going to be painful for athletes, for the economy, it’s going to be painful for anyone and everybody involved with Russia,” Klitschko said.
Klitschko also criticized the title fight between Canelo Alvarez and the Russian WBA champion, Dmitry Bivol. He added that every Russian representative needs to be sanctioned, regardless of their personality.
“Every sanction … and it’s nothing against the personalities or athletes … it’s about the politics of Russia,” Klitschko told BBC 5 Live Radio.
“Every Russian representative in this case needs to be sanctioned, because this way we show to Russia that the world is against his senseless war, and there is no good in this war.”