Tyson Fury has lauded former rival Wladimir Klitschko, brother Vitali and fellow heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk for signing up to defend their country following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The three boxing icons and former featherweight and lightweight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko have all been pictured preparing for war in their homeland, as they seek to protect their nation’s independence.
Both Usyk and Lomachenko, who had been slowly working towards their next fights, are now expected to delay their returns to the ring as they focus on the tensions and conflict.
Their commitment to Ukraine has now been praised by Fury, who claims he would be ready to sign up to fight for England, should he be needed.
“Fantastic. I’ll be the first one to join up if England get involved or America,” he said at the official press conference for his WBC and Ring Magazine heavyweight world title defence against Dillian Whyte.
“My dad will as well, me and all the boys will be signing up to defend.
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“If you’re from that country and living there, defend it. Love your woman and fight for your country, that’s what I say.”
Promoter Frank Warren was also full of praise for the four boxers, who have shown true bravery in the face of adversity.
He added: “Everybody should be absolutely pulling for Ukraine, standing up to the bully, standing up for democracy.
“Those four fighters [Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, Oleksandr Usyk and Vasiliy Lomachenko], everybody should be behind them. It’s magnificent what they’re doing.”
Former world champion Wladimir Klitschko, who was beaten in Dusseldorf by Fury in 2015, has now signed up to the Ukrainian forces.
“I am Ukrainian, and I am a fighter,” he said on Monday. “Our strongest force is the will and desire to live in a free country, and we have chosen the direction we want to go.
“We are a European country and we want to make sure that our values are going to be implemented rightly into our society, and no one else is going to decide for us how we should live.”
Meanwhile, Vitali has also reaffirmed his willingness to join the front line as the mayor of Kyiv.
WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight world champion Usyk has been pictured with an assault rifle in the past few days after signing up to the Kyiv Territorial Defense.
Close friend Lomachenko, who was in line for a shot at winning his lightweight world titles back against George Kambosos Jr in Australia, has now joined the Belgorod-Dnestrovsky Territorial Defense.