Vasiliy Lomachenko will reportedly stay in Ukraine to aid his nation in its defence against Russia’s invasion, rather than leaving the country to challenge George Kambosos Jr for the Australian’s lightweight titles.
Lomachenko returned home to Ukraine last month to enlist in the territorial army as Russian troops invaded the country, which has also been bombed amid the ongoing invasion.
The former multiple-weight champion has been joined in defending his nation by compatriot Oleksandr Usyk, who holds the WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO heavyweight titles, and brothers Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko – the latter of whom is mayor of Kyiv.
Promoter Bob Arum explained this week that Lomachenko and Usyk have permission to leave Ukraine, which last month enacted a law barring all men between the ages of 18 and 60 from fleeing.
Usyk had been expected to rematch Anthony Joshua this spring, having dethroned the Briton in London in September, while Lomachenko was lined up to fight Kambosos Jr.
The Australian, who is now set to take on Devin Haney, took to social media to pay tribute to Lomachenko and confirm that the Ukrainian will remain in his home country, writing: “I respect your decision and I totally understand and I pray for you and your country.
“Please stay safe and once I wipe the floor with Devin, we will make this fight between two real champions. God bless.”
It is as yet unclear whether Usyk will stay in Ukraine or take up the opportunity to leave and train for his contractually-obligated rematch with Joshua.