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battle cry World heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk joins the fighting forces in Ukraine

Usyk quickly travelled back home and insists he is prepared to sacrifice himself for his country.

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Oleksandr Usyk addresses Russian president Vladimir Putin Photo: @usykaa via Instagram

Oleksandr Usyk addresses Russian president Vladimir Putin Photo: @usykaa via Instagram

Oleksandr Usyk addresses Russian president Vladimir Putin Photo: @usykaa via Instagram

Oleksandr Usyk maintains “there is no fear” after the world heavyweight champion joined the fight against Russia in Ukraine.

The unified world champion has taken up arms and joined the territorial defense battalion alongside fellow boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko, as well as former fighters Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.

Initially out of the country and in London on business when Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, Usyk had been in negotiations to rematch Anthony Joshua following his victory over the Briton at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.

But Usyk quickly travelled back home and insists he is prepared to sacrifice himself for his country.

“Maybe, it’ll sound sentimental,” Usyk told CNN with his manager Egis Klimas acting as his interpreter.

“But my soul belongs to the Lord and my body and my honour belong to my country, to my family.

“So there is no fear, absolutely no fear. There’s just bafflement - how could this be in the 21st century?

“The bombing around is crazy. They just bombed the city of Mariupol, one of my friends got a rocket in his roof. [The Russians] are not playing games.”

Usyk revealed that he continues to box in order to relieve stress, with his craft enabling him to remain “calm and mentally prepared” for the task at hand.

A return to the ring is therefore unknown, as is the case for his friend and former three-weight world champion Lomachenko, who was set to fight George Kambosos in Australia in June.

That fight, too, has been shelved for the time being, with Klimas concluding: “They’re in big danger. When the bullets start flying, the bullet doesn’t care if you’re a world champion. The bullet just goes through.”

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