Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Kyiv mayor and former boxer Vitaly Klitschko on Sunday congratulated their compatriot Oleksandr Usyk, who retained his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles with a points win over Britain’s Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.
The reactions of Zelensky and Klitschko testify to the high symbolic value of this victory. “This victory was difficult to achieve, but very important and necessary,” writes the Ukrainian president. “Defending the World Championship title is a sign that all Kosas like us never give up, they fight and in the end they win.”
In the ring, the boxer wore the colors of Ukraine and the words “Colors of Freedom” on his outfit. In the days leading up to the fight, he sang a patriotic song in front of the media, dressed in traditional clothing, with his head shaved except for Cossack-style hair.
“Glory to Ukraine. Glory to her heroes,” Klitschko responded on his Facebook account. “We continue to prove that we can win: in sport and on the battlefield,” emphasized Kyiv’s Mayer, who, like Usyk, was the WBO world heavyweight champion. He also held the WBC belt.
“Ukraine is a strong country. We will also win against the Russian barbarians. Glory to Ukraine, free and dignified! Added Klitschko.
The fight was exceptionally free-to-air in Ukraine, where Usyk served as a volunteer in the military in February before accepting this highly-anticipated fight against Joshua.