Oleksandr Usyk—the Ukrainian boxing champion who upset Anthony Joshua to claim the unified WBA (Super), IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles—has launched a charitable foundation to aid his fellow countrymen impacted by the Russian invasion.
When Russia launched its war in Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, Usyk returned to Ukraine and joined the country’s territorial defense battalion. He was later allowed to leave the country to prepare for his rematch against Anthony Joshua, which is expected to take place later this year.
Beyond his preparation, Usyk also planned to use his rematch against Joshua to fund relief effort for his native Ukraine. He launched his non-profit foundation and announced that he planned to raise around $1 million from the sale of 2,000 NFTs (non-fungible tokens) that will be released in the lead-up to the rematch.
The Usyk Foundation also plans to focus on charitable projects that help provide basic needs of the people affected by the war, including medical supplies, food, and hygiene items. Humanitarian aid will be delivered to local governments, medical institutions, or humanitarian headquarters across Ukraine.
“Helping one’s country and its people win this horrendous war started by the Russian Federation has become the goal for the entire Ukrainian nation,” said Oleksandr Usyk, founder of the Usyk Foundation. “I call on the world community, my boxing colleagues, and people of conscience who are aware of the terrible crimes Russia is committing right now against innocent people. We need your help and support. Ukrainians already have the power of unity, capable of defeating any evil. Now it’s time to join forces globally. Any contribution is valuable, as it brings us closer to victory and peaceful life in Ukraine, in Europe.
“I believe the good that one puts out into the world always comes back to the giver. So let’s fight on the side of the light, the Ukrainian side.”
Russia launched its war on Ukraine on February 24, resulting in a humanitarian and refugee crisis that saw more than 5.7 million fleeing to neighbouring countries. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) verified a total of 2,899 civilian deaths during Russia’s military attack on Ukraine as of April 28, 2022. However, OHCHR specified that the real numbers could be higher.
Beyond the death toll, evidence has arisen showing the extent of Russia’s war crimes during its occupation of towns such as Bucha, which included mass graves, extrajudicial killings, rape, and torture. Photo evidence also showed corpses of civilians lined up with their hands bound behind their backs and shot at point-blank range.