Letter to Japan” From Igor Vovchanchyn, a Fighter in Ukraine | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Letter to Japan” From Igor Vovchanchyn, a Fighter in Ukraine

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I competed in the most famous MMA event in Japan called PRIDE. I am Ihor Vovchanchyn, a former mixed martial artist who is proud to have been fighting in Japan every two months for eight years starting in 1998. My opponents were great fighters from all over the world. I will never forget the Japanese audience and fans who motivated me to win with their enthusiastic support.

Vovchanchyn (far left) remains in Kharkiv, a fierce battleground, delivering relief supplies to civilians, the military, and hospitals on a daily basis.

Vovchanchyn, 48, who was feared as “the ultimate weapon of the North” for his powerful, log-wielding arms, is now in Kharkiv. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, his agent in Japan Koichi, tried to contact him, but his home and gym were disconnected.” It was finally confirmed through Olga, the daughter of the famous interpreter, who was known as “Obachanchin,” that Vovchanchyn was safe and sound. Mr. Kawasaki says.

Olga is fighting as a volunteer soldier in the capital, Kyiv. We were worried because Vov’s SNS had stopped, but we were relieved to hear that he was doing well.

He then received the letter at the beginning of this article from Vovchanchyn. The letter continues as follows.

I am fighting against Russian invaders who have illegally invaded my country, Ukraine. They are destroying our cities and killing civilians, including children. My hometown, Kharkiv, is one of the most shelled cities in Ukraine. It has been hit by missiles and most of our homes are in ruins.

Vovchanchyn has set up a charitable foundation and spends his days delivering food, medicine, and relief supplies to military, civilian, hospitals, and orphanages. After entrusting Mr. Kawasaki with the financial support from Japan, he added, “I am very grateful for the support of the Japanese government and the Japanese people.”

I miss my old friends in Japan. I also want to go to the dojo. That atmosphere of unity between spectators and players was unique in the world.

Japanese fans share the same feelings.

Vovchanchyn, feared by his opponents as the “Russian Hook”, has his stiff arm ironically pointed at Russia!

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From the April 22, 2022 issue of FRIDAY

  • PHOTO Shinya Inui (below)

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