Top kickboxer killed in Mariupol while fighting in Azov unit

i24NEWS

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In this file photograph taken on June 15, 2019, servicemen of the Azov regiment and Ukrainian National Guard march through the city of Mariupol, Ukraine.
Evgeniya Maksymova/AFPIn this file photograph taken on June 15, 2019, servicemen of the Azov regiment and Ukrainian National Guard march through the city of Mariupol, Ukraine.

Kagal is one of several prominent athletes to join the fight in Ukraine

Maksym Kagal, a Ukrainian champion kickboxer, was killed in clashes while fighting Russia’s troops as a member of the far-right Azov Battalion in Mariupol.

“Unfortunately, the war takes the best. On 25 March 2022, while defending the city of Mariupol as part of the Azov Separate Special Forces Unit, Maxim ‘Piston’ Kagal [was killed],” the athlete’s coach, Oleh Skyrta, said in a Facebook post on Sunday, according to The Independent.

The Azov Battalion is a far-right regiment within Ukraine’s National Guard, and the unit is affiliated with neo-Nazi elements. The group was previously a paramilitary organization before it was officially incorporated into Ukraine’s armed forces back in 2014.

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Kagal was praised by his coach as “the first world kickboxing champion from the glorious city of Kremenchug, the first world champion among adults in the team of Ukraine, and just an honest and decent person,” The Independent reported.

“Sleep well, brother, rest in peace to you, we will avenge you,” said.

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Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, a number of prominent athletes from the country have also returned to the state in order to battle Moscow’s troops.

Former star tennis player Alexandr Dolgopolov also traded in his racket for a weapon earlier this month to join the fight against invading forces in his native city of Kyiv.

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