We have launched our inaugural Warrior of the Year award, a formal recognition and celebration of the fighter who in our view has made the biggest impact both inside and outside the ring. Whilst we are spoiled for choice with so much talent out there at the moment – just think of Tiffany van Soest, Donovan Wisse and Tyjani Beztati all successfully defending their titles this year – we believe there is one fighter who deserves to be recognised as the ultimate Warrior of the year: Sergej Maslobojev.
The Lithuanian beat Tarik Khabez at Glory Collision 4 last October to officially crown himself world light heavyweight champion. Maslobojev wasted no time and used the publicity his world title earned him to draw attention to the war Ukrainian, a cause he feels extremely strong about. In a Facebook message posted shortly after his victory, he announced that he would be putting the boxing gloves he wore in his championship bout on auction to raise money for Ukrainians in need:
"I'm addressing you all," he began his story. "I want to help Ukraine. My championship is also for them and will also contribute to the fight against aggressor Russia. Innocent civilians and patriots have been killed everyday since February 24. That's why I'm selling items that are very dear to me. These gloves helped me realize my dream. That victory, that championship, was not only for me but for the whole of Lithuania, as no other compatriot has achieved anything like it. Please bid."
Maslobojev ultimately managed to raise €15,000, an amount that will be dedicated to the needs of Ukrainian soldiers and the promotion and development of sports activities in Ukraine. He and his manager Pavel have travelled to Ukraine at least since winning the title which earned him a prestigious award given by the Ukrainian defence forces for his significant contributions in the fight against crime.
So what does Maslobojev want for 2023? Warrior Code managed to catch up with the world champion who is currently on training camp in Thailand preparing for the new year.
"My goal for 2023 is to defend my title and I'm looking forward to doing it at least three times. I like to stay active and keep moving towards my goal with my mind and body. I would like to know the schedule so that I can not only properly prepare, but also plan, finally, a trip with my family on vacation. I do not want any big thrills and fun things, my main goal in life is to be happy and make everyone around me happy. So the biggest gift I can get for 2023 is an accurate plan so that I can live the life I want."
And will the champ continue to raise funds for Ukraine?
"First of all, I would like to wait until the end of May 2023, when the reconstruction of the Avia Solutions Group Arena in Vilnius is completed and it will open its doors again. Then we could bring the biggest kickboxing organisation to the most modern Lithuanian arena and make a huge show here and even raise some money to Ukraine. Later, after the war will end eventually we can move to Ukraine and we will give them the most impressive show, one that they really deserve, because the real heroes of our time live in Ukraine. They protect our peace, tranquility and freedom with their courage and blood from the madmen from the East."
Can Glory play a bigger role in this as well?
"I think it should have been done much earlier. But better late than sorry. If Glory could help with this, we already have information, contacts and connections in practice, how best to do it, what is needed first of all, through whom to organize processes for the speed of processes and who needs help most of all, evaluating this from the position of maximum help to fight against the aggressor.
"I don't really have any problems with the Russian people, but their government has really crossed the line of no return. Invading a free country because they don't play by its rules is not normal. Ukrainians are free people and only they can and have the right to decide how, with whom and by what rules they should live. This is how I was brought up and how I am raising my children: you need to help those who are in trouble, especially if they are forced to do something against their will."
"Myself and our entire team already have experience in this matter, including the delivery of assistance and aid to the front line in eastern Ukraine. We would really be more than happy with the support from Glory and would spend our time, connections, energy and even money, to help Glory in this mission and would personally deliver aid to Ukraine."
Any final words for our readers?
"Always do good! Our future does not depend on yesterday, our tomorrow depends on today! Think about how you can live your life today so that your community and the world around you become better and happier! Just do good and good will come back!"