As a young American boy, the one thing we were all made to fear was a Russian invasion. This almost always was associated with a military or political strike, yet even ion the sporting sense, it was feared. The Olympics came to my hometown, and without the communist countries attending, we cleaned up in boxing gold medals. The implication was clear, however, that if the Soviets had been involved, it would have been a much different story. Even one Rocky movie was dedicated to the "Red Threat". Fast forward to 2013, and a new invasion of the former Soviet-Union is underway, and this time it is a welcome sight.
It has been 23 years since the complete fall of the former USSR, and while many a hiccup has taken place in the young nations' thirst for democracy, the high standards of amateur athletic prowess are still in play. It has taken the full 23 years, however, for the professional game to follow suit. Much like a maturing fighter, the nation needed nearly two and a half decades to reach its full potential. Klitschkos and other former world champions, such as Kostya Tszyu, Roman Karmazin, Nicolai Valuev, and Dmitry Kirilov have enjoyed some success 5-10 years ago, and even some home-field accomplishments, but due to the climate in Russia and the Ukraine, champions have not been able to fully enjoy a modern first-world boxing scene.
If the Russian fighters had trouble, the Belarussian, Uzbek, Kyrgyz, Armenian, and Kazakh fighters have traditionally had to abandon their home countries entirely (save a few 'back-to-roots' fights) to have big pro careers... coming to Germany, Australia, USA, and even Japan: Vassily Jirov, Sergei Lyahovich, Arthur Abraham,