Between Usyk, 35, and Lomachenko, 34, they won three Olympic gold medals and have since established themselves among the world’s elite boxers.
Since Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24th, Usyk and Lomachenko traveled. Both Usyk and Lomachenko took up arms and joined the Territorial Defense Battalion of Ukraine. However, then, they face a very different existential battle for the future of their country.
Speaking via video link from a basement in Kyiv, Usyk exclusively told media that he had to be cautious of invading forces and looters. He is ready to take his own life if necessary.
He said that if they wanted to take his life or the life of his relatives, he would have to do it. However, he did not want that. He did not want either to shoot or to kill anyone, but if they were going to kill him, he would not have a choice.
Egis Klimas, Manager of Usyk, helped coordinate the interview and translate it into English. Despite the frightening situation many Ukrainians then find themselves in. Usyk says he is not afraid.
He made it clear that it might sound sentimental, but his soul belonged to the Lord, and his body and his honor belonged to his country. Also, it was to his family. So there is no fear at all. There is absolutely no fear. There is only confusion about how that could be in the 21st century.
He is not in Ukraine to box now, but the noble art is still useful. He said that it had helped him stay calm and mentally prepared and helped him to help others who were in a panic situation and nervous.
When Russia invaded, both the men were not in the country; Usyk had been filming footage for an upcoming video game in London.
He intended to fly home just hours after hostilities began. Still, with airports closed, he flew to Warsaw in Poland and drove almost 500 miles back home and across the border into Kyiv.
Lomachenko visited a monastery in Greece and returned home the following day. Instead of flying directly to her hometown of Odesa, she traveled to Bucharest in Romania. Afterward, she drove nine hours to the port and took a Ukraine ferry.
Their manager told the media that both Usyk and Lomachenko was unaware of taking up arms until they had already signed up and joined for the defense battalion of Ukraine. Vitali, the mayor of Kyiv, and Wladimir Klitschko, former world boxing champions, have also taken up arms to defend their respective nation.
The Bombing Is Crazy
Lomachenko had scheduled to speak to media simultaneously as Usyk had to. However, he did not return calls from his manager at that time. On Wednesday, at early morning local time, Klimas confirmed that Lomachenko was in safe hands.
He and Usyk remain close: They are godparents to the children of each other and want to celebrate family birthdays together. After six days of the war, Usyk learned that there was no longer a safe place in Ukraine.
Usyk said that the bombing was crazy. [The Russians] are not playing games. They very soon bombed the city of Mariupol, and one of his friends got a rocket on his roof.
As the fight intensifies, so does the debate over whether Russian athletes should get sanctions for their countries’ actions. Usyk chose not to comment directly, suggesting that innocent people are on both sides of the conflict.
The Russians don’t know what’s going on here exactly. They don’t see what is happening. They become victims of their president Vladimir Putin.
Usyk immediately became the IBF, WBA, WBO, and IBO heavyweight champion. In September, he defeated Anthony Joshua in London in an excellent boxing exhibition to reclaim the girdles. His manager says talks of a rematch that summer is in a state of advanced condition.
Previously Lightweight Lomachenko was a world champion in three different weight classes. He planned to fight George Kambosos in Australia in June next.
However, justifiably, boxing is the last thing they thought. Usyk said that he doesn’t know when he will get back in the ring. He looked exhausted and emotional in his interview. His country and honor are more important than a ‘championship belt.’
Usyk has three children. During the interview, they could hear the sound of young voices playing at his back in the cellar.
He says family, friends, and neighbors have been harboring jointly. They are trying to maintain the environment light for the kids. When there is an air raid alarm, they hide. Of course, it is fun when there are a lot of them there. We’re having fun. But we are pushing ourselves to have fun.
But in a separate conversation with the media, Usyk’s manager, Klimas, emphasized the seriousness of the situation: They are in great danger. When the bullets start to fly, the bullet doesn’t care if you are a world champion or not. The bullet shoots through.