WASHINGTON – There were times at the beginning of Karen Chukhadzhian’s training camp in Kyiv late last year when the Ukrainian contender had to leave the boxing gym to seek shelter in a bunker as air-raid alarms sounded.

Such dangerous challenges in his war-torn country have hardened Chukhadzhian, who isn’t the least bit intimidated by his seemingly daunting assignment Saturday night. Chukhadzhian understands that Jaron Ennis is incredibly talented, but this was simply an offer this fearless fighter couldn’t turn down.

“This is a big opportunity for me not only to become a boxing superstar,” Chukhadzhian told BoxingScene.com. “It also helps my country. It’s for my family and for my country.”

Chukhadzhian’s wife, mother, father and sister remain in Ukraine. He’ll return home to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, immediately after he faces Philadelphia’s Ennis for the IBF interim welterweight title on the Gervonta Davis-Hector Luis Garcia undercard at Capital One Arena (Showtime Pay-Per-View; $74.99; 9 p.m. ET).

“It’s pretty hard because from 31 December to January 1 there were attacks [in Kyiv],” Chukhadzhian said in reference to Russian missile strikes. “I can’t sleep all night because I am very worried about my family. It’s hard for me. So, I want to win this fight and get back home as fast as possible.”

The 26-year-old Chukhadzhian traveled to Romania, Germany and the Czech Republic to get sparring for the Ennis bout, but he and his family will remain in Ukraine no matter how long its war with Russia lasts.

“They don’t want to go,” Chukhadzhian said. “Me, too. I love Ukraine so much. We’re waiting for a victory. The Ukrainian national forces, we believe in them and we support them. … If my country asks me to go into war, I’ll go into war.”

Chukhadzhian (21-1, 11 KOs) is currently focused on fighting Ennis (29-0, 27 KOs, 1 NC), who represents a steep step up in competition for him.

Chukhadzhian, the IBF’s fourth-ranked contender in the 147-pound division, has won 20 straight bouts since he lost a three-round split decision to fellow Ukrainian Andrii Velikovskyi in his second professional fight. The number one-ranked Ennis, whom Chukhadzhian called “much better” than anyone he has fought, is still listed as a 50-1 favorite to beat him by BetMGM sportsbook.

“It’s hard to find such a good opponent in Europe or in Ukraine, of course,” Chukhadzhian said. “For me, it’s a big challenge. … It’s a chance to show myself to the world.”

American media and fans unfamiliar with Chukhadzhian have given him essentially zero chance at pulling off an upset. Being dismissed, in addition to the atrocities occurring in his homeland, has inspired him.

“It motivated me very good because I want to show them that I’m not a pillow fighter from Eastern Europe,” Chukhadzhian said. “I will do my best to show everybody that I’m not a just a regular boxer from Eastern Europe.”

However he fares Saturday night, Chukhadzhian has already done something most welterweights wouldn’t do by agreeing to box an opponent whose speed, power, technical skill, intelligence and athleticism have made him one of the most fascinating, fan-friendly fighters in boxing.

“If I didn’t believe in myself, I wouldn’t come here,” Chukhadzhian said. “I wanna fight the strongest guys, so when they call us and say what do we think about this fight, I say yes, of course. It’s a very big fight for me.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.