Former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko is standing firm on his position that all Russian athletes should be banned from events - until Russia ends their ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Klitschko, who is Ukrainian, had previously called for Dmitry Bivol, who is Russian, to be pulled from a scheduled fight with Mexican superstar Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.
Bivol was not removed from the fight, which took place on May 7, and went on to shock the world when he outboxed Canelo over twelve rounds to secure an upset unanimous decision win.
"The war is going now, they cannot participate at the next Olympic games, they cannot participate at any athletic events because this war is represented by Russia... I believe that this is going to be the message and is exactly for the answer to the question, ‘What I would you say to Mr Putin?’ … Actions speak louder than words. Isolation, and this isolation speaks louder than any word or any line because isolation is painful. It’s going to be painful for athletes, for the economy, it’s going to be painful for anyone and everybody involved with Russia," Klitschko told Piers Morgan Uncensored on TalkTV.
During the interview, Klitschko revealed that he nearly entertained the idea of coming out of retirement for a fight with WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury.
Fury outboxed Klitschko over twelve rounds to capture the unified crown in 2015. A rematch was planned, but never took place when Fury walked away from the sport for over two years to focus on his mental health and substance abuse issues.
Klitschko, who retired in 2017, put his in-ring ambitions to the side when Russia invaded Ukraine.
“I was thinking I should just text Tyson Fury and tweet, ‘Last dance?’ He wants to retire. We were supposed to have this rematch and that’s what I was thinking about it. You know, I didn't do it because my mind was in a totally different world," Klitschko said.
“I had a dream to become the oldest heavyweight champion of the world … But we were talking about something that was happening before and now there's a big question mark.”