The reason behind Roy Jones Jr becoming a Russian citizen after Klitschko criticism

Wladimir Klitschko has criticised the boxing icon for his ties with Russia but in a 2018 interview, the American explains why he wanted Russian citizenship.

In 2015, Roy Jones Jr officially became a Russian citizen after President Vladimir Putin accepted his request but many wonder why he was so keen for it to go through.

The boxing icon - seen by many as the greatest fighter of the 90s - fought in Russia on four occasions towards the back-end of his illustrious career and picked up wins against Zine Eddine Benmakhlouf and Hany Atiyo.

In a 2018 interview with Kevin Iole, Jones revealed it was partly down to help build future American-Russian relations.

"I go there a lot," said the former four-division king. "When I was offered the opportunity to see the Russian citizenship they said 95% of the population knows me.

"I'm like, 'you know what, here's the opportunity to where not on a political level but on a lower you can kind of merge these two countries together and stop some of all the crazies that goes on, all the angle and hostility, all of the cold wars'.

Roy Jones Jr is a former four-division world champion

"You know you may be able to start at a lower scale and may work yourself up - so I was simply looking at it as a way to become an ambassador to show that 'hey, you can be part of both of these countries - we don't have to be against each other, we can all work together here'.

"That's how that started and with that being said people sit back and they talk about Disney and talk about that but we get angered by people being cruel to animals.

"Yet if we have beef with another country they draft our kids to go out to war at 18 years old. So could I really have (a) cruelty to an animal or to my kid?"With that being said, it makes sense for me to do all I can to make amends with these people so we get along.

"After my arrival in Russia, I saw that there is a large community of boxers. I also felt appreciated in Russia.

"Maybe even a lot more than I was valued and appreciated in my own country," Jones added in a separate interview with

Vitali Klitschko is the mayor of Kyiv

However, in recent days Wladimir Klitschko - brother to Mayor of Kyiv and former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko - posted a video and questioned who Jones supported following the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

"I am super happy to be able to address all of you tonight. Well, almost all of you. There is one person for whom I have a real question [for]," Klitschko said in a Twitter video.

"One person broke Ukrainian law by going to the occupied peninsula of Crimea through Russian territory.

"That person is Roy Jones. So Roy, whose side are you on? On the side of the aggressor, or on the side of the defender of its right to live. I respect you as a fighter, but I really question your moral compass."

READ MORE: The night Mike Tyson wanted a brawl with basketball icon Michael Jordan

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