WE know that boxers are proving their bravery every time they climb the ropes – knowing they are putting their lives on the line and risking the possibility of a life-changing injury.
But it takes a very special kind of courage to trade in the gloves for an AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifle and volunteer to face a superior-armed, vicious enemy, knowing that there is every likelihood that you will be killed.
Ukrainian Vitaly and Wladimir Klitschko, Vasily Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk – all world champions – have proven that they are even more heroic outside the ring as they go to war against the Russian invaders – especially since they didn’t have to.
There have been many famous and unknown boxers who have won medals for bravery on the battlefield for going above and beyond the call of duty – I have only selected three of them.
Harry Daniels, who boxed for Great Britain at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, never turned professional as he was a career soldier.
In March 1915, Daniels, a Sgt. Major in the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade, along with his unit in France, was ordered to advance for acres of no man’s land.
They were supposed to storm the German trenches after cutting through the barbed wire. Despite heavy machine gun fire and despite being injured, Daniels managed to complete his mission.
Harry was awarded the Victoria Cross. But he wasn’t done with the Germans yet. He also earned the MC for further brave deeds on the western front.
Daniels, one of 13 children and orphaned at the age of six, became Lt.
Colonel – In recognition of his outstanding fearlessness, a street was named after him in his hometown of Wymondham, Norfolk.
George Carpentier, the handsome French idol, was European light heavyweight champion when World War I broke out.
He immediately joined the French Air Force and quickly became one of their ace pilots. There is no record of how many German planes he shot down, but he must have been something special.
Known as the orchid man throughout his boxing career, George won the Croix de Guerre and the Medaille Militaire – France’s two top military honors.
When the war ended, Carpentier won the world light heavyweight title and in July 1921 he challenged Jack Dempsey for his world heavyweight title.
He was KO’d in the 4th round, but the fight in Jersey City made history – it was boxing’s first million-dollar gate.
Barney Ross, world lightweight, light welterweight and welterweight champion, enlisted in the US Marine Corps in April 1942.
Ross, the son of a Chicago rabbi, escaped a court-martial for hitting a corporal over an anti-Semitic remark and was instead sent to the Pacific to fight the Japanese.
During the Battle of Guadalcanal, Ross and three comrades came under enemy fire.
They were all wounded, but Ross was the only one able to fight on.
Barney gathered his comrades’ rifles and grenades and fought single-handedly against nearly a dozen Japanese soldiers throughout the night. By sunrise, Ross had killed every one of them.
Two of his comrades had died from their injuries and Barney carried the third – who outweighed him by six stone – to safety on his shoulders.
Ross received the Silver Star – America’s third highest military award – for his incredible exploits, and President Roosevelt gave him a special mention as one of America’s greatest prominent war heroes.
President John F. Kennedy said, “Great crises produce great men and great acts of courage.”
Words that fit the Four Musketeers Vitali, Vladimir, Vasiliy and Oleksandr like a ten-ounce glove.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/17911360/ukraine-russia-war-klitschko-lomachenko-usyk/ Klitschkos, Usyk and Lomachenko are the latest boxers to live up to the call of duty and have proven even more heroic outside the ring