Oleksandr Usyk is ensuring that his duties in the ring are not keeping him from taking part in his country’s war effort against Russia.
Earlier this week, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky announced in a video conference that the Ukrainian heavyweight champion (WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF) would be the latest ambassador of United24, a fundraising platform controlled by the Ukrainian government.
“Today, there was another expansion of our United24 platform,” Zelensky said. “This state fundraising platform has already collected more than $200 million from dozens of countries. Oleksandr Usyk has become a new United24 ambassador.”
“It is important to keep Ukraine in the focus of the world’s attention,” Zelensky continued. “Oleksandr is now very popular both in the USA, and in Europe. His popularity already works to help Ukraine. We continue the fight, and welcome the Ukrainian champion to the UNITED24 ambassador team.”
Usyk, a former undisputed champion at cruiserweight, is coming off a successful defense of his heavyweight titles in his rematch with Anthony Joshua, in August, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Usyk had previously put his boxing career on hold after the Russian invasion of Ukraine occurred in late February. Usyk pulled out of negotiations with Joshua and immediately joined his nation’s territorial defense force.
Several weeks later, Usyk decided he would be of better use to his country if he took on Joshua, in what was a contractually-mandated rematch.
In a subsequent release, United24 said Usyk will concentrate his efforts on helping rebuild cities that have been battered by Russian drone missiles.
“From now on, [Usyk] will help rebuild Ukrainian cities that have been destroyed by missiles and kamikaze drones,” the release said. “First of all, he will focus on the reconstruction of the Kyiv Oblast, where he already implements infrastructure projects.”
The release also noted that Usyk’s own company, the Usyk Foundation will raise a fundraiser in Los Angeles on Thursday in conjunction with United24.
“I am happy to join the platform founded by President Zelenskyy,” Usyk said in a statement. “We must join forces to convey the truth to the world community and strengthen the support for Ukraine. The event on October 20 will bring together many famous people. I hope we can raise a lot of funds to help Ukrainians affected by the war.”
According to the release, United24 is also represented by Andriy Shevechnko, the former soccer player and current manager, and tennis player Elina Svitolina. Actors Liev Schreiber, Barbra Streisand and Mark Hamill are also ambassadors.