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La Jornada – Boxing, an alternative to relieve war stress in Ukraine


kyiv. The sound of hip hop mixes with the dry roar of fists hitting sacks where boxers unload the stress of weeks of war in kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

“With the curfew in the city and restrictions on movement, we needed a place to let off steam and release emotional tensions,” said Oleksandre, 38, an employee of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Since the withdrawal of Russian forces from around kyiv at the end of March, the Ukrainian capital has slowly returned to almost normal life and two-thirds of its inhabitants have returned, according to the mayor’s office.

The restaurants reopened their doors and, with the arrival of spring, the cafes again attract customers to the terraces where many seem to ignore the sirens that warn of the danger of an air attack and that still resound in the city.

Gyms have also started to resume their activities, such as the All Stars Boxing Club in the center of kyiv. There the trainers test boxing fans and fans of fitness.

For 20 years Ukraine has had a dominant presence in the world of boxing, with figures recognized as fast, precise and technical fighters.

kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko and his brother Wladimir dominated the heavyweight division for years, helping the former’s successful political career.

Reigning heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk briefly hung up the gloves in February to join the defense forces, before returning to training for a highly anticipated rematch against Anthony Joshua this summer.

The All Stars and boxing offering serves as an outlet to stay fit while managing the anxiety and stress that comes with life in times of war.

“An advantage of boxing is that it allows you to keep your mind clear,” Usyk commented; “all thoughts go away, help restart”.

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