NO WAR says Usyk as he returns to Ukraine

World heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk provided a very simple update on his feelings about the Russian invasion of Ukraine late on Thursday as he returned to his homeland – it read quite simply ‘NO WAR’.

The IBF, WBA and WBO champion had been in northern England earlier this week for various meetings and interviews as he closes in on a rematch with former heavyweight king Anthony Joshua – likely in late May or June.

But events back home took a heartbreaking turn early on Thursday when Wladimir Putin’s Russia forces invaded Ukraine. By Friday morning they were reportedly on the outskirts of the capital city of Kiev with Ukrainian forces fighting furiously to try and defend their soil.

Usyk speaks to Ukraine

Usyk posted the ‘NO WAR’ message on Instagram as he spoke to the camera for a short time in his native tongue.

Now the thoughts of the world are with Usyk and his countrymen as they put their lives on the line to defend their nation from attack by Russia.

Fellow Ukrainians and former world heavyweight champions Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko have already said they will take up arms to fight against the Russian invasion.

Klitschkos ready to take up arms

Vitali, the mayor of Kiev since 2014, said he was ready to fight on Thursday, while Wladimir had already enlisted with the Ukraine reserve army earlier in February.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Oleksandr, Vitali, Wladimir, their families and the whole of Ukraine in these dark days for European peace.