Plus, Anthony Joshua’s rematch against Oleksandr Usyk could be delayed after the Ukrainian’s return to join the resistance in his homeland
Vitali Klitschko, the former world heavyweight champion and the mayor of Kyiv, has said that he is ready to join Ukrainian soldiers in fighting against the Russian invasion of his country.
Klitschko, who posted a joint message on Twitter with brother Wladimir, another former world heavyweight champion, also declared a state of emergency in the Ukrainian capital city.
Asked on Thursday morning if he was ready to join civilians and soldiers in fighting against the Russian military, Vitali, who is 50, said: “I don’t have another choice. I have to do that,” before adding: “I will be fighting. I believe in Ukraine. I believe in my country and I believe in my people.”
His younger brother Wladimir, who is 45, enlisted in Ukraine’s reserve army in Kyiv earlier this month, saying that love for his country compelled him to defend it. Ukraine has been braced for a military offensive over recent weeks after Russia assembled tens of thousands of troops near their borders.
“One district from here, my little girl is going to school,” said Wladimir. “It is the love, the love for my city, my home, my family, my neighbours, my daughter that has brought me here, that I took this initiative and am now taking part in this territorial defence.
“I can’t stand still and I won’t. That’s why I signed up for the territorial defence of the country and the city.”
His older brother Vitali, who has been mayor of Kyiv since 2014, has warned of a “very painful price for everyone”.
He said that the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, had “totally” lost all sense of reality and that there were “many, many examples” of Ukrainians dying following the attack.
Meanwhile, Anthony Joshua’s rematch against Oleksandr Usyk – under discussion for a London stadium in late May or June – could be delayed after the Ukrainian’s return to join the resistance against the invasion of his homeland.
Usyk, like the Klitschko brothers, has pledged to serve his county against the military forces of Putin. “Some said I ran away; I didn’t,” he wrote on Instagram. “I’m back, I’m home. Friends, we have to unite because it’s a hard time right now and I’m really emotional and worry [sic] about my country, and our people. Friends, we have to stop this war; all of us together.”