By: Sean Crose
As negotiations for an undisputed heavyweight title fight between himself and Tyson Fury drag out endlessly, WBA, IBF, and WBO heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk has been doing his part to help his fellow Ukrainians who have been impacted by the bloody Russian invasion which began over a year ago. “I am motivated by the idea that I must help my nation, my people,” Usyk recently told CNN. “If I have the abilities, if I have strength to do that, if I can do it.” To Usyk, the matter transcends the social and political and reaches the realm of the spiritual.
“God has given me this chance to be on TV,” he said, “to be, thanks to God, known in the world of sports.” Usyk is therefore the ambassador for UNITED24, which CNN describes as “an organization set up by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky with the aim of raising funds for Ukraine.” Indeed, the undefeated fighter has taken particular interest in the story of Diana Savenok, a mother of two whose apartment complex was destroyed during Russian shelling. Suffice to say, the complex is now being rebuilt. “Usyk has donated $205,000 to rebuilding Savenok’s apartment block,” CNN writes, “with over $250,000 raised in total at the time of publication. According to the boxer, scaffolding had already gone up around the block as rebuilding work gets underway.”
Savenok says she was moved to tears when she received the good news that her home was being reconstructed. Being a world renowned fighter has allowed Usyk the opportunity to bring attention to the war. “This is my opportunity to share with people about what’s happening,” he said. “Many people in the world think it’s just some kind of a game happening here, and we are just making it all up.”
Usyk, who was in Britain when the Russian invasion began, returned home and took part in his nation’s defense. On the boxing front, he won his second match against Anthony Joshua – who he had originally won his belts from – last year via decision and is now wrapped up with Fury and his team to make their long hoped for fight become a reality. Usyk tells CNN, however, that it isn’t easy to focus on the sweet science while the world is literally blowing up around him. “He admitted,” CNN writes of Usyk, “it has been a struggle to concentrate on boxing since the war began.”
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