Oleksandr Usyk has been stripped of Crimean honours for his stance defending Ukraine ©Getty Images

Ukrainian boxing star Oleksandr Usyk has been stripped of honours in Crimea after joining the Ukrainian Territorial Defence Forces to defend the nation from Russia’s invasion.

Usyk is one of seven individuals to have honours removed in the region.

The world heavyweight champion was born at Simferopol in Crimea.

Russia invaded Crimea in 2014 and annexed the peninsula, with a State Council put in place.

The State Council has included Usyk on a list of individuals who have been stripped of awards and the right to wear insignia of the region, which were awarded before 2014.

Usyk was stripped of his honorary title "Honoured Worker of Physical Culture and Sports of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea" for anti-Russian and Russophobic statements.

"These are those who arranged and welcomed the water and energy blockade of Crimea, who question the fairness and legitimacy of our return to Russia, who stained themselves with Russophobia," said Vladimir Konstantinov, chairman of the State Council.

"Such people are not worthy of a good memory.

"This list will be continued, work on its formation has just begun."

Usyk joined other Ukrainian athletes including fellow boxers Vasily Lomachenko and the Klitschko brothers in the fight against Russia.

The 35-year-old has since left the war in Ukraine to prepare for his rematch with Anthony Joshua.

Oleksandr Usyk is preparing for his rematch with Anthony Joshua ©Getty Images
Oleksandr Usyk is preparing for his rematch with Anthony Joshua ©Getty Images

Usyk beat Joshua in September last year in a world title fight at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

The rematch could take place in Saudi Arabia in late June.

As an amateur boxer, Usyk claimed heavyweight gold at the 2008 European Championships before securing the world title in 2011.

He then became Olympic champion at London 2012 after defeating Italy’s Clemente Russo in the men's heavyweight final.

Usyk had faced criticism in the past after saying "Crimea belongs to God" when questioned about Russia’s annexation of the territory.

Usyk now lives in Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv.

Former Ukrainian Presidents Leonid Kravchuk and Leonid Kuchma have also been stripped of the distinctions "For fidelity to duty" and the title of "Honorary Crimean", respectively.

Former Ukrainian military officials Mykola Balan and Igor Alexandrovich Voronchenko, Eurovision Song Contest participant Inna Leonidovna Bordyug, and Ukrainian politician Serhiy Kunitsyn have also been stripped for Crimean honours.