Top boxer Vasiliy Lomachenko joins territorial defense battalion in Ukraine

Vasiliy Lomachenko, ESPN's No. 8 pound-for-pound boxer, has joined a territorial defense battalion in Ukraine as the country attempts to fend off an invasion from Russia.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist is shown armed and wearing military fatigues in an image posted to his Facebook page on Sunday.

The 34-year-old was in Greece when the invasion began, and his flight home to Ukraine on Friday was delayed due to air traffic being grounded. He flew into Bucharest and traveled through Romania on Saturday to reach his home outside of Odessa to be with his family.

Lomachenko (16-2, 11 KOs), a former three-division champion, is closing in on a June 5 fight in Australia against undisputed lightweight champion George Kambosos, a title bout that would be televised on June 4 in the United States on ESPN. Lomachenko agreed to his side of the deal earlier this month.

Since suffering a decision loss to Teofimo Lopez in October 2020, Lomachenko underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and reeled off two consecutive wins. Most recently, he defeated Richard Commey via decision in December.

Hall of Fame boxer Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, announced he was taking up arms to defend against the attack. His brother, fellow Hall of Famer and former heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, enlisted in Ukraine's reserve army earlier this month in anticipation of the invasion.

"We are so proud of our boxers, our real champions in boxing and champions in this war," said Mykola Kovalchuk, president of WBC Ukraine. "We are proud to be Ukrainians."