Putin is doing ‘a lot of good for ordinary people’, says political boxing champ who has ‘dropped election bid over candidate lies’
An Olympic boxing champion is said to have withdrawn from elections to Russia's Federal Assembly after becoming disillusioned by candidates who "openly lie" and "see only the bad" in the country's government.
Unbeaten fighter Egor Mekhontsev has turned his attentions to politics since his final fight in 2017, only to back away from elections to the State Duma after becoming despondent with some of his peers, according to a report.
The London 2012 Olympic Games gold medalist is said to have issued a statement via the Russian Boxing Federation in which he slams government critics and praises a list of existing measures including school meals for children, maternity pay and preferential mortgages for large families.
"I am an athlete and have always tried to be honest with my rivals – and, most importantly, with myself," Mekhontsev was quoted as saying by Championat.
"Now, when I see when some candidates openly lie and literally turn [facts] inside out, adjusting for a cheap political situation, I do not want and will not participate in such a campaign.
"You can talk a lot about the fact that we have problems in the field of healthcare, education, roads. This is so, no doubt. But the most important thing that our state provides us with now is a peaceful sky over our heads."
The former world and European champion hailed Vladimir Putin and his administration for their defense spending and doing "a lot of good for ordinary people" in recent years.
"Not to notice this and to see only the bad, constantly accusing the authorities of deceit and theft – this is dishonorable and vile," he added. "I cannot do this and I will not do it.
"That is why I made my decision and withdrew from the election campaign. I will continue to help my fellow countrymen not with political chatter, but with real deeds."
Now 36, Mekhontsev won Olympic gold at light heavyweight and signed with American promotional giants Top Rank when he turned professional in 2013.
In June, he posted in support of the social-democratic Fair Russia part because of his dislike for "when the weak are hurt."
"I believe that Fair Russia is best suited to represent ordinary citizens, to be their voice in conversations with the authorities," he explained.
"The position of this party is close and understandable to me... [it] always – not only before elections – defends the rights of ordinary citizens and suggests how to start fighting poverty and injustice today."
When he announced that he would run for the party, he said: "I traveled a lot around the world, saw how people live in different countries.
"I believe that the standard of living of my fellow countrymen, its quality can be much better.
"We have everything for this: a hardworking and intelligent people, natural resources and desire."
The Asbest-born powerhouse shared a photo of himself with iconic promoter Don King in Moscow to his Instagram following of almost 39,000 last week.
"A few days ago he turned 90 years old," Mekhontsev reported of King.
"Boxing saved him from poverty and crime and sent him on a path that goes along with the law. Boxing is not only a sport, but something more."
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