By: Sean Crose
“Back home I always loved watching them.”
So said a Russian officer recently captured by Ukrainian forces during his country’s bloody invasion of Ukraine. The people the officer refers to in the widely released video are none other than Ukrainian boxing stars Oleksandr Usyk and Vasyl Lomachenko. Claiming a video of the two fighters declaring their willingness to defend Ukraine led him to see the error of his nation’s ways, the officer claimed: “I personally, just when we entered this territory when I watched the address of the professional boxers, your boxers…back home I always loved watching them, Usyk and Lomachenko, they are my favorites. I mean that when I say it.”
The video of the officer shows him seated among captured comrades, some of whom look like they just got out of the ring with the Klitschko brothers. “These people (Usyk and Lomachenko) are just ready to take arms,” the officer continued. “They said ‘we didn’t call you here’ and I feel shame that we came to this country.”
First things first – captured combatants frequently make statements supporting their captors. That’s why some will understandably argue that the officer in question was coerced into saying what he did on video. Whether this is true or not is anyone’s guess. With that in mind, it’s hard to deny that the actions of Lomachenko and Usyk, who have stepped away from extremely lucrative careers to join in a fight they might not survive, is noteworthy.
Along with Kiev mayor Vitali Klitschko and his younger brother, former heavyweight kingpin Wladimir, Lomachenko and Usyk have earned much public praise for their willingness to take part in the defense of their homeland, which was attacked in a massive invasion by Russian military forces less than two weeks ago.
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