“It’s Better to Bring Peace Back to the Country”: Usik Publicly Refused to Receive the “Hero of Ukraine” Award From the Kiev Junta

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



The Ukrainian boxer and undisputed cruiserweight champion (up to 90.7 kg) Aleksandr Usik at a press conference on Wednesday said that he doesn’t need the title “Hero of Ukraine”.

As RIA Novosti writes, after Usik’s victory in the final of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) the Prime Minister of Ukraine Vladimir Groisman said that he will suggest to the President of the country Petro Poroshenko to give the boxer the title of “Hero of Ukraine”. However, during the press conference that was broadcasted by Ukrainian TV channels the Ukrainian boxer responded to the top officials of the Ukrainian State with a sharp refusal.

“Hero? I don’t need any stars. For the people, for a certain number of people in my country I am already a hero, I don’t need stars for this, I don’t need regalia for this,” said Usik at a press conference that was broadcast by Ukrainian TV channels.

He also noted that he asks nothing from the State except to not prevent him from progressing.

The boxer also asked for “the names of those who said some things about cowardice and something else” to not be mentioned during communication with him.

“I will tell you this: if shouting things out that, you know, sit in certain people’s heads [he means, for example, “Glory to Ukraine” – ed] would return peace to my country, if it raised the pension of pensioners or returned smiles to those who don’t smile, then I would shout the same things 24 hours a day,” he said.

Usik also stated that he doesn’t pay attention to criticism or any pretensions in his address.

“People become crazy, they write to me and insult me. I ask my people to be self-conscious. I don’t know … just don’t watch TV at all. I recently watched on the Internet the Religious procession on the occasion of the 1030th anniversary of the Baptism of Rus’. Did you see how many people came out? Who could be disturbed by such a large number of people coming out to pray? Let them pray, it is magnificent when people pray. Grace comes to our country,” he said.

It should be noted that Usik’s team hasn’t received any money from the Ukrainian State during his professional career. The boxer lives in Crimea with his family, however he hasn’t abandoned his Ukrainian citizenship and continues to represent Ukraine in sport in the international arena.

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