MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin offered citizenship to U.S. former world champion boxer Roy Jones Jr. during a meeting in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed from Ukraine.
Jones, 46, told Putin he enjoys visiting Russia, although it would be easier if he had a Russian passport, according to a transcript published on the Kremlin website in Russian on Wednesday. “People here love sport,” he said. “That’s why I love this place.”
An English-language transcript the Kremlin published later gave a different version of Jones’ comment: “All the people here seem to love Roy Jones Jr. And I love when people love me.”
Putin replied that he likes boxing “very much” and will gladly offer citizenship to the fighter if he intends to spend “significant” time in the country. “Your name is very well known among sports and boxing fans in Russia,” the president said.
Jones won world titles in middleweight, super middleweight, light heavyweight and heavyweight classes over more than a decade from 1994. While he’s back in the ring, Jones, who’s also a rapper and actor, is visiting Crimea as a singer at a boxing show, according to the Kremlin.
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