April 06, 2023

"Kingpin" of Russia


"Kingpin" of Russia
Screenshot of Kevin Johnson addressing President Putin in his post-fight speech. VK Video.

Former World Boxing Council (WBC) contender Kevin "Kingpin" Johnson recently asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for citizenship.

After defeating Viacheslav Datsik in a three-round exhibition in Moscow on March 31, the American boxer addressed Vladimir Putin during a post-fight interview:

"This is it right here. I'm really ready to make a life-long change. And I would like to say to the president, the honorable Vladimir Putin, if you're watching this and you're listening, I, Kevin Johnson, am looking to move here to Moscow and become a full resident here to pursue my career. And with your approval, I would like to apply for a Russian passport where Russia can be my home."

No mention was made of Putin's policies or values that could justify Johnson's request. His curt statement caused many to wonder what prompted such a remark from the athlete.

Boxing News speculates that perhaps Johnson's pandering was financially driven, as he has not fought for a major title since 2009. For over a decade, Johnson has been a journeyman fighter, facing (and losing to) many rising contenders in Europe. Some suggested that Johnson could be seeking Russian citizenship in order to expand his career and find new opportunities.

With a record of 35 wins (19 by knockout), 21 losses, and 2 draws, the American boxer has fought some of the most notable heavyweights in the world, including Vitali Klitschko, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, and Andy Ruiz Jr.

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