The painting by Russian artist Andrey Plitchin resembles an Uzbek boxer. Author: Taken from the ArtNow website
The World Boxing Championship in Tashkent is already in its final stages, and while the medals are played in the capital of Uzbekistan, other prizes are at stake.
Regarding this global event, the President of the International Federation of this discipline (IBA) wanted to pay tribute to both current and past champions by establishing a special award for those who especially show fighting spirit.
“We must remember the heroes of the boxing past in order to create the future of our sport. One of these outstanding personalities was Andrey Borzenko, a Soviet boxer, champion of the Uzbek SSR, master of sports, honorary coach and referee,” Umar Kremlev, President of IBA Russia, emphasized, and also mentioned such figures as Muhammad Ali and Roy Jones Jr., who also serves as an inspiration and example for today’s athletes.
Kremlev explained that the purpose of the award is to honor the memory of the great Borzenko, whose life story is worthy of an epic film. This is how the special award “For the Will to Win” appeared, which from now on will be awarded to 25 boxers at the end of each world championship.
Legend of Buchenwald
Andrei Borzenkoze slipped into the history of world boxing from the catacombs of a Nazi concentration camp.
He was born in Tashkent in 1920 and studied the art of boxing with the American Sidney Jackson. Under the tutelage of this coach, he became a two-time heavyweight champion in his homeland.
A newspaper article compiled by the sports blog boec.com reveals that before the war, the young athlete was recruited by the Red Army and then sent to the front when the Great Patriotic War broke out in the Soviet Union. in 1941.
They say that in the middle of the battle Borzenko was seriously wounded in the arm and one leg, after which he lost consciousness and was taken prisoner near the Dnieper.
Borzenko received several awards for his participation in World War II. Photo: @championat/ Twitter
He was held in the Stalag concentration camp and, after two unsuccessful escape attempts, was sent to the infamous Buchenwald prison, known in its day as a sort of branch of Hell on Earth.
It is said that gladiator fights were held in the catacombs of this gloomy place to the delight of Nazi officials. It was there that the Soviet soldier began to weave his feat with his bare fist.
fight for barbed wire
Borzenko quickly became the best boxer among all those involved in these inhuman fights, thanks to his frequent and unusual ability to end fights with a knockout. Additionally, it is stated that when he was declared the winner, he shared with his fellow inmates the bread and soup he won as a reward for his efforts and prowess in the ring.
Among his “victims” is the alleged star boxer of all parts of the SS, whose name was Willy, the heavyweight champion of the Third Reich, who was brought to the Soviet prisoner to teach the enemy a lesson.
The fight was considered a battle between the Nazis and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and was scheduled for six rounds of five minutes each. It was a battle for life, in which Borzenko took many punishments from his hardened opponent in several rounds, and to top it all off, he had to put up with elbow strikes and other unacceptable movements.
However, he managed to stay on his feet and finally delivered a strong blow to the German’s jaw, knocking him out. Immediately after this, the crowd dispersed, and from that moment on, his name became a symbol of resistance among the prisoners of Buchenwald.
The vast majority of information about Borzenko today is known thanks to the writer Georgy Sviridov and his book Barbed wire ringa text born from conversations between the boxer himself and the author, who in turn became the first president of the USSR Boxing Federation.
The story of what actually happened to Andrei Borzenko between 1941 and 1945 is known only from his own words. Therefore, over the years, many have doubted the veracity of these adventures. Be that as it may, the truth is that it remains a mystery why the Nazis did not kill him even when he sent his champion to the canvas.
In total, before his release in April 1945, Andrei Borzenko spent more than 80 unbeaten battles in the death camps.
Once free, he received offers to leave for the West, but he chose to return with his family to Uzbekistan, where he entered a medical institute and became a surgeon, and was also the first in Tashkent to perform heart operations.
Only after a long time he decides to talk about his experiences. Andrei received an award for participation in the Great Patriotic War, the victory of the Soviet Army over the troops of Nazi Germany, which just turned 78 years old.
Until his death in 1992, the poor Borzenko participated in many competitions as an arbitrator and side judge.
His prowess in the ring is what drives the IBA today to ensure that its athletes do not forget their heroes.
Source: Juventud Rebelde