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Ukrainian boxer Oleg Prudky dies on the frontline fighting Russian forces; lauded as 'hero'

Two-time Ukrainian boxing champion, Oleg Prudky, tragically passed away on May 22 defending his country while fighting against Russia on the frontline. 

Ukrainian boxer Oleg Prudky dies on the frontline fighting Russian forces lauded as hero snt
Cherkasy, First Published May 25, 2022, 3:10 PM IST

Two-time Ukrainian boxing champion Oleg Prudky tragically passed away defending his nation while fighting against Russian forces on the frontline. The 30-year-old was among many boxers who took up arms after Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to invade the eastern European country. 

Prudky, who competed in the 2015 World Series of Boxing competition for Ukrainian Otamans, was in the police force as part of the special forces working alongside authorities in the region of Cherkasy for the last three months.

The boxer took part in a series of worldwide amateur tournaments for Ukraine in the super-lightweight category, including several European championships. Prudky brought his amateur career to an end in 2015 with a 17-14 record, including a 12-fight winning run from September 2013 until January 2015. 

Prudky was among four members of the Cherkasy Police troops killed in an attack by Russian forces on Sunday and leaves behind his wife, Mariana and two young daughters.

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"They defended Ukraine – the dead police heroes of Cherkasy region. On May 22, defending the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, our colleagues, police officers of the Special Operations Department of the KORD Department of the Main Directorate of the National Police, were killed. There are no words to convey the pain, the despair over the irreparable loss," Cherkasy Police said in a statement.

"We bow our heads and bow low to their parents. In our memory, they will remain honest and principled people, good friends and reliable colleagues. We express our deepest condolences to their relatives and friends. We remember, we miss you. Bright memory," the statement concluded.

The Cherkasy Boxing Federation paid its tribute to Prudky. In a post they said, "Another tragedy in our boxing family. One of the best boxers of Cherkasy region, Oleg Prudky, died in the East... The boxing family of Cherkasy region expresses its sincere condolences to the family and friends. Rest in peace!"

Meanwhile, the Ukrainian Boxing Federation stated, "We are sad to announce that the master of sports of international boxing class, champion of Ukraine Oleg Prudky, died in battles with the Russian occupiers. The Boxing Federation of Ukraine expresses its condolences to the boxer's family! Eternal memory to you Oleg."

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Cherkasy Boxing Federation president Serhiy Tyshchenko said, "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 Otamans', 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," he added.

"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!" Tyshchenko concluded.

Prudky's wife Mariana also made an emotional tribute on Instagram, posting several images of him captioned with, "War – it takes away the best. I don't believe, I don't believe that you are no more. What I will not hear – Good morning darling! I'm fine! How are the girls? And the most important thing is that you will never tell me again – I LOVE you."

"You were like a bright sun, an example for your children, who adore you so much and ask you every time, and when dad comes. How can I tell them that they will never see you again? You were an example for your friends and colleagues. You are my ANGEL. I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH," she concluded.

Here's a look at other tributes that poured in on Twitter:

Prudky is not the only renowned athlete from war-torn Ukraine to be fighting for his country on the front line. 

Heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk enrolled in the Kyiv Territorial Defense in February, but the 35-year-old has since left Ukraine to prepare for his world title rematch against Anthony Joshua. Usyk will use the high-profile fight to raise funds for his charity, Usyk Foundation, to help his country with a collection of 2,000 non-fungible tokens.  

Meanwhile, three-weight boxing world champion Vasyl Lomachenko also signed up in a Ukrainian territorial army and has chosen to continue protecting his country rather than boxing George Kambosos Jr for unified titles.

Also read: Russian swimmer Evgeny Rylov banned for 9 months over Putin pro-war rally; Kremlin unhappy

Bellator welterweight champion Yaroslav Amosov was scheduled to fight Michael Page in London earlier this month but withdrew because of the ongoing conflict back home. Wladimir and Vitaly Klitschko have joined the fight, too, with the former enrolling in Kyiv's Territorial Defence in response to Putin's assault while the latter is the mayor of the city.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has entered its third month and represents the most significant attack on a European state since 1945. It has seen more than 6.5 million people flee abroad, turning entire cities into rubble, and provoking the West to react with unprecedented sanctions on Russia.

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