Monday, September 25, 2023  |


Denys Berinchyk finds a new fight outside the ring in his native Ukraine

Denys Berinchyk (left) as a fighter in Ukraine
Fighters Network

In late August, lightweight contender Denys Berinchyk won a hard-fought 12-round unanimous decision over Anthony Yigit on the undercard of celebrated countryman Oleksandr Usyk’s successful Ring, IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight title defense against Daniel Dubois at the Stadion Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland.

After a taxing fight, most fighters take time off with friends and loved ones and go on a well deserved vacation and enjoy some down time. However, Berinchyk is not most fighters. Having left one battlefield in the ring, he headed to another one, an all-too-real scenario back home in Ukraine.

“It hurts and makes me angry,” Berinchyk (18-0, 9 knockouts) told The Ring through Yulia Diachenko. “However, I believe that one day this will be free Ukrainian land again and I will visit my home there.

“Many friends and athletes of mine joined our army in 2014 and are still fighting for our independence and identity. I was not able to do the same then due to my professional career, but I had a great desire to help somehow, so I have found myself in volunteering – helping army. I cannot reveal what exactly we are helping with, but believe me, there can never be too much help.”

The 35-year-old, who won a silver medal at the 2012 Olympics, is quick to remind the outside world that the on-going war began many years ago.

“It is not just a conflict – its real war, which has been started in 2014, but the full-scale Russian invasion occurred on February 24, 2022,” he said. “My native town Krasnodon is located in Luhansk region, which is occupied by Russians for 9 years already.”

Incredibly, Berinchyk has volunteered more times than he can remember.

“I never counted, but I try my best to visit our people on the front line as often as it possible to do between my training camps and fights,” he said humbly. “I will continue my efforts until the victory of my country – We have no choice.”

Berinchyk paints a very vivid experience of what is going on in Ukraine.

“This is very dangerous, it’s scary,” he admitted. “You have to listen to every sound, distinguish who is shooting – our army or enemy and which kind of weapon is working. [You] never [get] a second to relax.

“I do my best to provide as much moral support as it possible and enjoy seeing happy smiles of our superheroes when I come to visit them and bring my belts, so they could take a picture and talk about boxing between hard fights on the front line. I am very grateful to them for a possibility to do my boxing job, so every victory I get in the ring is dedicated to them.

“I’d like to use this opportunity to thank people and government of the United Kingdom for all the help they provide us during these terrible times. Ukrainian’s will never forget it. Love boxing! Support Ukraine!”

The win over Yigit strengthen his position in the talent laden division and he hopes he’s able to fight for a world title next.

“My last fight in Wroclaw was one more step to the world title,” he explained. “Now we are waiting for the WBO Convention [in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on October 9-13] where, I hope, everything will be settled.”

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected].