Sports legends and stars from the war-ravaged Ukraine have picked up arms to defend their country from the invading Russian forces.
Ukrainian sports legends and stars to pick up arms against Russian forces include heavyweight boxers, Olympic wrestler, former tennis player and also a football club manager.
Legendary Ukrainian heavyweight boxers are leading the country’s sports stars in the resistance against Russian forces.
Heavyweight boxers – the Klitschko brothers – Vitali (50) and Wladimir (45) – have picked up arms in defence of their home land.
Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Ukrainian capital Kyiv, is a former WBC and WBO champion, while his brother Wladimir is a former WBA, WBO and IBF champion.
Wladimir Klitschko enlisted in Ukraine’s reserve army last month, before the war began.
“I don’t have another choice. I have to do that. I will be fighting,” said Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko in a video message.
The Klitschko brothers are joined by reigning heavyweight champion Olexander Usyk, who has left London for Ukraine.
Oleksandr Usyk has sent out a powerful message to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the people of Russia: “Stop attacking us. Stop this war.”
Boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko is another Ukrainian sports star to have joined the country’s reserve forces.
Yaroslav Amosov, a welterweight title-holder, has also announced that he would stay in Ukraine and suspended all his sporting engagements to defend the country.
He said that he would “defend this country as best I can” against Russia.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky has also signed up to join the territorial defence force to resist the Russian invasion.
Stakhovsky is known for beating Roger Federer at the 2013 Wimbledon.
Olympians Dmytro Pidruchny and Dmytro Mazurchuk have also enlisted into the territorial army.