The 46-year-old asked Russian leader for passport whilst in Ukraine’s Kremlin-occupied Crimea
Former heavywieight world champion boxer Roy Jones Jr. is in confident mood heading into his first fight since becoming a Russian citizen. The 46-year-old Jones asked Russian President Putin for a Russian passport last month. He made the request whilst in Crimea, the Black Sea region which Russia annexed from Ukraine last year, in a move which remains internationally unrecognised.
Ahead of his bout against Welshman Enzo Maccareinelli, Jones said he will be fightin “for his countrymen.”
Roy Jones Jr., Russian boxer: “Well now I am a Russian citizen, so there is all the difference in the world, now I am fighting for my countrymen, now I am Russian the whole public is rooting for me because I….I am a Russian.”
Jones earlier told Putin that a Russian passport would make it easier for him to travel to Russia and that he hoped he could “build a bridge” between Russia and the United States.
The boxer is the latest Westerner to become a Russian citizen. French actor Gerard Depardieu made headlines in 2013 when he took similar steps. Depardieu has often praised Putin, including his policies in the occupied Crimea, as a result of which, he has been banned from travelling to Ukraine.