Oleksandr Usyk is hoping to use his rematch against Anthony Joshua to raise money for his homeland of Ukraine as Russia continues to invade.
The fight was originally meant to take place in May earlier this year, but the conflict in Usyk’s homeland saw him, along with the Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, as well as Vasyl Lomachenko return home to bear arms.
Now the fight for Usyk’s WBA (super), IBF, IBO and WBO heavyweight titles is set for August 20 in Saudi Arabia where both men stand to make tens of millions and maximise the unified heavyweight title fight for what it is.
Oleksandr Usyk joined the Kyiv Territorial Defense to defend Ukraine against Russia
After a few months at home, Usyk would leave to train in Poland for his contracted rematch
On top of that, Usyk is teaming up with UK-based sports NFT platform Blockasset to launch an exclusive digital artwork collection in a bid to raise around £1.64million.
‘Many of my relatives lost their homes, lost friends and loved ones. I pray for the soonest possible end to this horror.’
The money will go to the Usyk Foundation, a charity founded to support vital humanitarian work in the champion’s homeland.
A look at some of the artwork on offer from artist Dosbrak, someone Usyk is a big fan of
Usyk is hoping these images as well as rare physical items will generate over £1.5m for Ukraine
Speaking to Blockasset, Usyk made it clear both the fight and the war remain at the front of his mind: ‘Compared to war, boxing is child’s play. War is a terrible thing, which I would not wish on my worst enemy.
‘My thoughts, as much as possible, are to be prepared well for the Joshua fight and to be able to glorify again my god Jesus Christ and my native land,’ said Usyk.
‘I appreciate the opportunity to link up with blockasset, who I regard as the Heavyweight Champions of sports NFTs. I’m a big fan of Dosbrak’s art, and it has been a pleasure to collaborate on this initiative, which I am sure will raise a considerable amount for our foundation.’
A number of rare physical items, such as signed original Dosbrak prints – a digital artist – and autographed Oleksandr Usyk gloves will be awarded to holders of the rarest NFTs from the mint
Usyk is the favourite to defeat Joshua again in their rematch after surprising the Brit last year
Usyk soundly defeated Joshua in their first meeting back in September of last year after strolling away from the Brit in the final four rounds.
The former undisputed cruiserweight champion says he will return home to Ukraine within 24 hours of his fight with Joshua and may take a break from boxing.
Still, WBC champion Tyson Fury still lingers in the background and despite retiring, he has not vacated the belt. The chance to fight for the undisputed title would be a compelling pitch to Usyk or Joshua.