HEAVTWEIGHT champion Oleksandr Usyk has left his native Ukraine to prepare for his rematch with British-Nigerian Anthony Joshua.
Usyk, 35, has been helping to defend his country from the Russian invasion after enlisting in Ukraine’s military.
He beat Joshua in September to become the unified heavyweight champion and is set to face the Briton again in June.
Usyk will now begin his training camp but, contrary to some reports, the BBC understands the camp is not in neighbouring Poland.
April had initially been mentioned as a potential date for the rematch, but Joshua’s search for a new trainer and prolonged talks with WBC champion Tyson Fury forced a delay.
After Joshua decided against stepping aside from the fight to face Fury, his promoter Eddie Hearn said May was a target.
But Joshua’s bid to win back the WBA (Super), IBF and WBO belts was pushed back further when Russian troops invaded Ukraine at the end of February.
Usyk is one of several former and current Ukrainian boxers who have come to the defence of their homeland.
Three-weight world champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, 34, has also taken up arms while brothers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, both former world heavyweight champions, are also in Kyiv.
Vitali, 50, has been mayor of the city since 2014 while Wladimir, 45, joined the city’s military reserve last month. BBC