Roy Jones Jr had his wish for a Russian passport come true, as Vladimir Putin granted citizenship to the champion of four weight classes, who was once called the world’s best boxer.
The news was revealed, in Russian, on the official Kremlin website this weekend, and has been independently confirmed by Jones himself, who said the following to Russian news agency, R-Sport.
“I want to speak so well in Russian that people understand me without any problems,” he said. “I think that’ll take about a year. I hope that next year I’ll already be speaking like a Russian.”
News emerged of Jones’ intentions last month, when he was pictured enjoying tea with President Putin, and since that time he has announced he is to train Russian WBA (reg) 168 lb champion Fedor Chudinov, who defends his title in London, England, later this month against Frank Buglioni.
Also insisting he wishes to further the sport of boxing in the country by opening various academy-style premises, Jones also wishes to continue fighting, and has hooked up with Russian promoter/business mogul, Vlad Hrunov, in hope of earning a shot at Poland’s new WBO 200 lb champion, Krzysztof Glowacki.
An elusive cruiserweight strap is the only divisional world title from 160lbs to heavyweight that the American is yet to win in his long Hall of Fame worthy career, although consensus opinion is that he is diluting his legacy – and has been for some time – by feasting on journeyman opponents as he pursues this aim.
Jones has boxed in Russia three times in the past five years and was due to fight in England this weekend, although pulled out last minute, ostensibly due to his Russian Citizenship application.
Exactly what has sparked his bizarre new love affair with the Soviet super-power is unclear.