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American Strongman Roy Jones Jr. Asks Russian Strongman Vladimir Putin for Citizenship

American boxer Roy Jones Jr. asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for Russian citizenship. Putin said yes.

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American boxer Roy Jones Jr. is considered one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in the history of the sport. His unconventional style — he often boxed with his hands at his sides or behind his back, daring opponents to attack, then sidestepping and counterpunching with lightning-fast hands — was devastating. His record is 62 and eight, with 45 knockouts. And now he’s friends with another notorious strongman: Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Jones is in Crimea, the Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Putin last year, to be a special guest on the boxing show, The Battle of Mount Gasfort. According to Russian media, Putin and Jones met briefly. Sparks flew instantly.

The video of their time together is below, and it’s worth a watch. Here are some highlights:

Jones complimented Putin’s ability in “combat sports,” citing the Russian president’s well-documented judo ability. Putin paid it right back.

“You were highly successful in boxing — like no one else…. I don’t think there have been any others like you in the world,” Putin said. And he knows his stuff; Putin also commended Jones for fighting in a number of weight classes, something that few fighters are able to successfully do.

Jones then asked Putin for a Russian passport, noting that “all the people here seem to love Roy Jones Jr., and I love when people love me.” Jones said it would facilitate his business interests there. The fighter even offered to “build a bridge” between Washington and Moscow.

Putin acknowledged that Jones is, in fact, loved by Russian people and seemed to like the idea. He said Russian authorities “would certainly be happy to fulfill [Jones’s] request to receive a Russian passport, Russian citizenship.”

Photo credit: Don Emmert/Getty Images

David Francis was a senior reporter for Foreign Policy, where he covered international finance. @davidcfrancis

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