- By Ismail Arafat
The day after American boxing icon Roy Jones Jr met with President Putin during his Crimea visit, and asked for Russian citizenship (in order to further his business, acting and music career), the 46-year-old champion has been placed on Ukrainian black list of “traitors”, “separatists” and “terrorists” with Kiev threatening him with a criminal case under Article 332-1 for illegally entering the “territory of Ukraine” despite Jones Jr. never actually entering Ukraine at all.
Finding a common interest with Putin in his favorite martial art, judo, the champion told the Russian President that as a kid, before turning to the boxing ring, he wanted to master the Japanese sport. However Putin, who initially began training in sambo before switching to judo at the age of 14 (which he continues to practice today), praised Jones’ achievements in the sport he had chosen.
Meeting over a cup of tea, the champion-turned-rapper and actor asked Putin for Russian citizenship, noting that having one will help him succeed in business.
Putin “I hope you will succeed in business here in Russia,”
Jones “That is why I want to come here. That is why I’m also here. Because I want to ask you about maybe having a passport to go back and forth so that I can do business here. Because all the people here seem to love Roy Jones Jr. And I love when people love me,“
Noting that Jones is well-known and adored by Russian sports fans, Putin said that as long as the boxer spends a strong proportion of his time doing business in Russia, authorities “would certainly be happy to fulfil [Jones’] request to receive a Russian passport, Russian citizenship.”
“I think Russian boxing fans would be very happy,” the Russian leader stressed.