A Ukrainian boxing champion has died fighting on the frontlines of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Oleg Prudky, a semi-professional World Series of Boxing competitor in the super-lightweight division, was announced dead in a social media post by the Cherasky Boxing Federation. His death was confirmed by Cherkasy police, who added that Prudky was one of four officers killed in an attack last week.
“On May 22, defending the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, our colleagues, police officers from the Special Operations Department of the National Police Department, were killed,” the statement said.
Prudky was a former two-time amateur boxing champion who took part in numerous international events.
Cherasky Boxing Federation president Serhiy Tyshchenko was quoted as saying: “I remember now how your coach told you how eager you were to do boxing and cycling for tens of kilometres to get to training.
“I remember how we supported you at the competitions of ‘Ukrainian Atamans’, then a whole bus from Cherkasy came to support you and you won! Everyone remembers your incredible fights. You are the first in the history of Cherkasy boxing to win gold in the 60kg weight category.
“Oleg was a two-time champion of Ukraine and a master of sports of international class. Your victories and achievements are hard to count, you were a very persistent and hard-working athlete, you trained a lot. You have been a worthy example for future generations.
“It is very difficult to accept such news every day - an irreparable loss for our boxing family. I express my sincere condolences to the boxer’s family. Cursed war, takes away the best sons of Ukraine! Eternal memory, rest in peace friend! Heroes do not die!”
The circumstances surrounding the fighter’s death remain unclear. He is also not the first combat sports athlete to be killed in the Russia-Ukraine war. A kickboxing champion fighting with far-right Azov regiment was killed in Mariupol last March.
There are also a handful of notable athletes who continue to fight for Ukraine, including renowned boxer Vasily Lomachenko and Bellator welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov. Oleksandr Usyk recently left the Ukrainian army to prepare for his upcoming rematch against Anthony Joshua.