April 06, 2023

"Kingpin" of Russia


"Kingpin" of Russia
Screenshot of Kevin Johnson addressing President Putin in his post-fight speech. VK Video.

Former World Boxing Council (WBC) contender Kevin "Kingpin" Johnson recently asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for citizenship.

After defeating Viacheslav Datsik in a three-round exhibition in Moscow on March 31, the American boxer addressed Vladimir Putin during a post-fight interview:

"This is it right here. I'm really ready to make a life-long change. And I would like to say to the president, the honorable Vladimir Putin, if you're watching this and you're listening, I, Kevin Johnson, am looking to move here to Moscow and become a full resident here to pursue my career. And with your approval, I would like to apply for a Russian passport where Russia can be my home."

No mention was made of Putin's policies or values that could justify Johnson's request. His curt statement caused many to wonder what prompted such a remark from the athlete.

Boxing News speculates that perhaps Johnson's pandering was financially driven, as he has not fought for a major title since 2009. For over a decade, Johnson has been a journeyman fighter, facing (and losing to) many rising contenders in Europe. Some suggested that Johnson could be seeking Russian citizenship in order to expand his career and find new opportunities.

With a record of 35 wins (19 by knockout), 21 losses, and 2 draws, the American boxer has fought some of the most notable heavyweights in the world, including Vitali Klitschko, Tyson Fury, Anthony Joshua, and Andy Ruiz Jr.

You Might Also Like

Fugitive No. 1
  • March 18, 2023

Fugitive No. 1

Russian President and Indicted War Criminal Vladimir Putin had a bad day.
What Is Fair in Love and War?
  • February 07, 2023

What Is Fair in Love and War?

The International Olympic Committee is advocating for Russian and Belarusian involvement in the 2024 Olympic Games.
Winner Take All
  • June 14, 2003

Winner Take All

From rather inauspicious origins in the Ural mountains, Konstantin Tszyu has gone on to become the world's greatest boxer in his weight class. But he has never lost his perspective.
Like this post? Get a weekly email digest + member-only deals

Some of Our Books

The Little Humpbacked Horse

The Little Humpbacked Horse

A beloved Russian classic about a resourceful Russian peasant, Vanya, and his miracle-working horse, who together undergo various trials, exploits and adventures at the whim of a laughable tsar, told in rich, narrative poetry.
22 Russian Crosswords

22 Russian Crosswords

Test your knowledge of the Russian language, Russian history and society with these 22 challenging puzzles taken from the pages of Russian Life magazine. Most all the clues are in English, but you must fill in the answers in Russian. If you get stumped, of course all the puzzles have answers printed at the back of the book.
Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

Davai! The Russians and Their Vodka

In this comprehensive, quixotic and addictive book, Edwin Trommelen explores all facets of the Russian obsession with vodka. Peering chiefly through the lenses of history and literature, Trommelen offers up an appropriately complex, rich and bittersweet portrait, based on great respect for Russian culture.
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

The murder of a poet is always more than a murder. When a famous writer is brutally stabbed on the campus of Moscow’s Lumumba University, the son of a recently deposed African president confesses, and the case assumes political implications that no one wants any part of.
93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas

This exciting new trilogy by a Russian author – who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco – vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas is a must read for lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.  
Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod: A Novel in Many Voices

Stargorod is a mid-sized provincial city that exists only in Russian metaphorical space. It has its roots in Gogol, and Ilf and Petrov, and is a place far from Moscow, but close to Russian hearts. It is a place of mystery and normality, of provincial innocence and Black Earth wisdom. Strange, inexplicable things happen in Stargorod. So do good things. And bad things. A lot like life everywhere, one might say. Only with a heavy dose of vodka, longing and mystery.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

This astonishingly gripping autobiography by the founder of the Russian Women’s Death Battallion in World War I is an eye-opening documentary of life before, during and after the Bolshevik Revolution.
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
At the Circus

At the Circus

This wonderful novella by Alexander Kuprin tells the story of the wrestler Arbuzov and his battle against a renowned American wrestler. Rich in detail and characterization, At the Circus brims with excitement and life. You can smell the sawdust in the big top, see the vivid and colorful characters, sense the tension build as Arbuzov readies to face off against the American.
Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

Faith & Humor: Notes from Muscovy

A book that dares to explore the humanity of priests and pilgrims, saints and sinners, Faith & Humor has been both a runaway bestseller in Russia and the focus of heated controversy – as often happens when a thoughtful writer takes on sacred cows. The stories, aphorisms, anecdotes, dialogues and adventures in this volume comprise an encyclopedia of modern Russian Orthodoxy, and thereby of Russian life.
A Taste of Chekhov

A Taste of Chekhov

This compact volume is an introduction to the works of Chekhov the master storyteller, via nine stories spanning the last twenty years of his life.

About Us

Russian Life is a publication of a 30-year-young, award-winning publishing house that creates a bimonthly magazine, books, maps, and other products for Russophiles the world over.

Latest Posts

Our Contacts

Russian Life
73 Main Street, Suite 402
Montpelier VT 05602

802-223-4955