Sports stars who are fighting on the front line in Ukraine, from heavyweight champ Usyk to an ex-Arsenal star

THESE proud Ukrainian sports activities stars have joined the struggle to save their nation following Russian invasion.

From heavyweight boxing champions to a former Arsenal double-winner, many have raced again residence to defend their homeland.

The Klitschko brothers are in the front line defending their country from Russian invasion
The Klitschko brothers are in the front line defending their nation from Russian invasionCredit: Getty

These embrace the legendary Klitschko brothers, who have taken up arms and have revealed they are “ready to die” in the struggle in opposition to Russian forces.

SunSport rounds up the sportsman turned troopers decided to arise to Vladimir Putin.

Oleksandr Usyk

Slayer of Anthony Joshua and two-weight world champion, Usyk joined the Kyiv Territorial Defence stating his “country and honour” had been extra vital than any struggle in the ring.

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Incidentally, he was in the center of negotiations for a mega payday rematch in opposition to Joshua.

But for now, that’s been put on ice as the struggle rumbles on.

Usyk has been vocal about the battle, thanking his compatriots for his or her bravery amidst the bloody chaos.

He stated on social media: “We will rebuild our Ukraine! We will make investments all the funds now we have to restore our lovely, blooming Nenka!

“Dear friends! Once again I want to say to every Ukrainian who stood up for his country. Thank you very much!”

Oleksandr Usyk put his rematch with Anthony Joshua on ice to join the army
Oleksandr Usyk put his rematch with Anthony Joshua on ice to be part of the militaryCredit: Instagram @andrii_nebytov
Last year Oleksandr Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua to become heavyweight champion
Last yr Oleksandr Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua to grow to be heavyweight championCredit: AP

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Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko

As mayor of Kyiv, Vitali, 50, is aware of that the capital is a key goal for the Russians.

He not too long ago urged his fellow residents to “spend time in the bunkers” as the battle intensifies.

During his days in the ring, Vitali was by no means ever knocked down in the ring.

He turned to politics in 2005 after retiring from boxing and is now a servant to his nation.

He informed ITV: “I don’t have another choice. I have to do that. I will be fighting.”

And it’s the identical for youthful brother Wladimir, who enlisted in Ukraine’s reserve military in early February and has publicly pleaded with Russia to finish the struggle.

reigned as heavyweight king for 9 years earlier than dropping his crown to Tyson Fury, 33, in a 2015 upset.

He would return two years later in defeat to Anthony Joshua, 32, and announce his retirement quickly after, snubbing a Las Vegas rematch.

According to experiences, the pair have been added to Putin’s “kill list” which has 24 high-profile Ukrainians on it.

As mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klitschko has been hands-on in fighting for the cause
As mayor of Kyiv, Vitaly Klitschko has been hands-on in fighting for the triggerCredit: EPA
Wladimir Klitschko has enlisted in the reserve army
Wladimir Klitschko has enlisted in the reserve militaryCredit: AFP
Wladimir Klitschko was defeated by Tyson Fury in an epic heavyweight fight
Wladimir Klitschko was defeated by Tyson Fury in an epic heavyweight struggleCredit: Reuters
Vitali Klitschko had a bloody encounter with Lennox Lewis in 2003
Vitali Klitschko had a bloody encounter with Lennox Lewis in 2003Credit: Getty – Contributor

Sergiy Stakhovsky

The Ukrainian tennis ace didn’t know something about army fight.

But that didn’t cease him from returning to Ukraine to assist his nation.

The 36-year-old reached a profession excessive of 31. However, nothing would put together him for this.

“I don’t have the words to describe it,” Stakhovsky informed Eurosport.

“I might by no means think about in my life that it will come to this, that I might be in my residence metropolis patrolling in a home-made vest, with a gun in my fingers.

“I imply, 5 days earlier than the struggle was in Kyiv, and lots of people in American and British intelligence saying that Russia will invade, even then I used to be 100 per cent certain it’s not going to occur.

“I said there was no chance Russia openly would go into war, invade Ukraine – on what pretext? “There is no pretext for it.”

Tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky mans the barricades in Kyiv
Tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky mans the barricades in KyivCredit: AFP
Sergiy Stakhovsky wears a home-made vest
Sergiy Stakhovsky wears a home-made vestCredit: AFP
Former tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky is patrolling his home city with a gun in hand
Former tennis star Sergiy Stakhovsky is patrolling his residence metropolis with a gun in handCredit: AFP
Sergiy Stakhovsky plays at Wimbledon in 2017
Sergiy Stakhovsky performs at Wimbledon in 2017Credit: Reuters

Yuriy Vernydub

Last Autumn, the soccer supervisor defeated Real Madrid with lowly Sheriff Tiraspol.

Now, he’s ready to take on the Russian military.

The 56-year-old, who says “he has no trouble using firearms”, revealed a dialog together with his son spurred him to head to Ukraine.

He informed the BBC: “My son referred to as me at 4:30am and he informed me the Russians attacked us. I knew then that I might return to Ukraine to struggle.

“We flew residence and landed in Iasi, Romania. I then glided by bus to Tiraspol, in Transnistria, with the remainder of the crew on Friday night and left for Ukraine very first thing on Saturday morning. I enrolled on Sunday.

“It took 11 hours from Tiraspol to my home in Ukraine, travelling via Odessa, then through Kirovgrad, Kryvyy Rih and then Zaporoje, but I can’t say it was difficult.”

Sheriff Tiraspol manager Yuriy Vernydub, centre, defeated Real Madrid last autumn and is now taking on the Russian army
Sheriff Tiraspol supervisor Yuriy Vernydub, centre, defeated Real Madrid final autumn and is now taking on the Russian militaryCredit: Twitter
Yuriy Vernydub during the UEFA Champions League match at Real Madrid
Yuriy Vernydub throughout the UEFA Champions League match at Real MadridCredit: Getty

Vasiliy Lomachenko

Like nice pal Usyk, light-weight boxer Lomachenko is supporting his nation throughout this tough time.

He was final seen holding a M16 with Ukrainian media reporting he had joined the Belgorod-Dniester Terror Defence Battalion.

The masterful southpaw, 34, is one in every of the biggest beginner boxers of all time, leaving the unpaid ranks with a file of 396-1 and two Olympic gold medals.

It noticed him quick tracked as an expert like by no means seen earlier than and Lomachenko, who is married to Olena with two children, grew to become a three-division champ in simply 12 fights.

Boxing promoter Bob Arum referred to as Loma an actual hero for going again residence to defend his nation.

He nonetheless needs to face off in opposition to undisputed light-weight champion George Kambosos Jr. in June too.

Vasiliy Lomachenko, currently serving in Ukraine, wants to fight undisputed lightweight champion George Kambosos Jr. in June
Vasiliy Lomachenko, at the moment serving in Ukraine, needs to struggle undisputed light-weight champion George Kambosos Jr. in June
Vasiliy Lomachenko was last seen in action against Richard Commey
Vasiliy Lomachenko was final seen in motion in opposition to Richard CommeyCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Dmytro Pidruchny

A biathlete, who took half in the 2014, 2018 and 2022 Olympic Games, Pidruchny joined the Ukrainian National Guard and ditched the season.

His purpose was to defend his parental residence from Russian forces.

He additionally took to social media to ask for donations for the Ukrainian military, assist from NATO and different international locations, and revealed his ideas on sport and politics.

He wrote: “Don’t tell me sport is out of politics. It’s connected! Soldiers and civilians of my homeland are dying as you read this. Please don’t stand aside, please.”

He added: “I’ll be staying in Ukraine to help protect our homes and families.”

Dmytro Pidruchny made a passionate plea on social media asking for help from overseas
Dmytro Pidruchny made a passionate plea on social media asking for assist from abroadCredit: Facebook
Dmytro Pidruchny competes at Beijing 2022
Dmytro Pidruchny competes at Beijing 2022Credit: Alamy

Oleg Luzhny

Nicknamed ‘The Horse’ throughout his enjoying days, Luzhny’s athleticism is required on the front strains, which is the place he revealed he’s.

The former Arsenal defender, who received the FA Cup and Premier League with the Gunners, is a part of the Territorial Defence Force, placing his managerial aspirations to one aspect for the motherland.

“Like all devoted Ukrainians, now I’m in Ukraine, with all our people defending our motherland. I joined the Territorial Defence Force,” he confirmed to the Mirror.

“The state of affairs may be very tense, the siren sounds three or 4 instances a day, additionally at evening.

“People have to frantically sprint to bomb shelters, ladies with babies, who don’t perceive what is occurring, they are terrified.

“Entire cities and cities are shelled and being destroyed, folks are left with out fuel, electrical energy, water and meals.

“But our nation stands united like by no means earlier than.

“We will not give up, everyone is trying to assist in the best possible way.”

Oleg Luzhny is currently with the Territorial Defence Force
Oleg Luzhny is at the moment with the Territorial Defence ForceCredit: Getty
Oleg Luzhny won the double with Arsenal during his playing days
Oleg Luzhny received the double with Arsenal throughout his enjoying daysCredit: Getty

Svyatik Artemenko

One day earlier than the Russian invasion, Artemenko signed for Ukranian second division squad FC Podylla.

He was given the choice of returning to Canada, the place he was enjoying in Winnipeg.

But as an alternative, he opted to keep and struggle.

“That wasn’t even a thought in my head to leave or to flee the country,” Artemenko informed CBC.

“My initial thought always stayed with me to go enrol and go to war here.”

Artemenko could have returned to Canada but opted to stay in Ukraine and fight
Artemenko might have returned to Canada however opted to keep in Ukraine and struggleCredit: Instagram @svyatikart

Zhan Beleniuk

Beleniuk was Ukraine’s solely gold medalist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Now, he’s a member of parliament after wowing all in 87kg wrestling.

Currently, he’s liaising with troopers and volunteers as they struggle off the Russian advance.

“Usually when you lose a fight, there’s another day,” he informed the Guardian.

“But here you can die at any moment. And it’s not just your own life. It’s the lives of your family. It’s the future of your country. These are the highest stakes ever.”

He added: “It’s really hard to describe the level of terror in Ukraine. You probably have to be here to understand the extent of it. There are so many stories. So many tragedies.”

Olympic gold medallist Beleniuk holds a government position and is liaising with troops and volunteers
Olympic gold medallist Beleniuk holds a authorities place and is liaising with troops and volunteersCredit: Instagram @zhanbeleniuk

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