Oleksandr Usyk’s win over Anthony Joshua last year was lauded by the boxing world but in his native Ukraine all is not well.
The WBA, IBF and WBO champion, alongside former lightweight king Vasiliy Lomachenko, have spearheaded Ukraine’s impact on the sport in recent years with both men recognised as two of the best fighters on the planet.
However, in a recent YouTube interview with Maria Efrosinina, reported by RT, Usyk said he had lost out on lucrative sponsorship deals because of political issues.
“The situation is such that with the hate, with these divisions and misunderstandings, a lot of multi- million contracts have gone. They were just rejected.”
Usyk has been accused of not being critical enough of Russia and making political statements that have upset many. Even his religious beliefs have caused controversy.
“I say, ‘Where, show me’. They say, ‘Well, our company’s position is like this.’” All of which have led both he and Lomachenko to be added to an ‘Enemies of the state’ list in their homeland.
“I’ve lost quite a lot of money because of my position. I don’t regret it. Money is the easiest source that can be replenished,” said Usyk.