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Boxing Champion Usyk Rejects Hero Of Ukraine Award

Ukrainian boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk presents his Muhammad Ali trophy after a press conference in Kyiv on August 1.

Ukrainian boxing champion Oleksandr Usyk has rejected a proposal to award him with the country's highest honor, the Hero of Ukraine medal, saying he doesn't need anything from the government.

"Do not bother me and that is the best support you can give me," Usyk told journalists in Kyiv on August 1.

Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroysman had proposed to award Usyk with the Hero of Ukraine title after he unified the cruiserweight division's four titles by defeating Russia's Murat Gassiev in Moscow last month.

"The hero title? I do not need any title, as for my people, for a certain part of my country's people, I am a hero," Usyk said.

"There is no need for any additional insignia," he added. "I do not need the insignia that you are giving around to those who both deserve and don't deserve it."

Usyk, a former Olympic gold medalist, now holds the WBA, IBF, WBC, and WBO belts after just 15 professional fights, all of which he won.

Usyk, who was born in Ukraine's Crimea region, says he was forced to leave the peninsula after it was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.

Moscow has also backed separatists in a war that has killed more than 10,300 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.

Based on reporting by UNIAN and Ukrayinska Pravda