BOXING: Oleksandr Usyk will use rematch with Anthony Joshua to fund relief effort in Ukraine


London 2012 Olympic gold medalist and reigning world champion boxer Oleksandr Usyk is taking advantage of his rematch with Anthony Joshua to raise funds in a relief effort for those affected by the Russian conflict in Ukraine.

Usyk said his charity, The Usyk Foundation, would like to generate around $1 million from the sale of 2,000 NFTs, (non-fungible tokens) that are generated by fight content.

The official NFTs for the fight will be released leading up to the rematch. They will be designed by the artist Dosbrak, who has worked with other prominent fighters such as Mike Tyson and Connor McGregor.

“Many people in Ukraine are now seeking help,” Usyk said, “We think that as soon as it’s released, many people will actually receive this help – people who actually need it.”

Usyk is also putting up two tickets to the fight that will be handed out at random to one of the NFT buyers.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, Usyk joined the country’s territorial defense battalion. However, he was later allowed to leave the country to prepare for his rematch against Anthony Joshua. The fight date is not yet set, but is rumored to be as early as May or June of this year.

Usyk said he plans to return to Ukraine immediately after the fight with Joshua, which he said he took on to “support the spirit” of Ukraine.

Last September, Usyk successfully unified the four world championship belts against Joshua at a sold-out event at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

With his victory over Joshua, Usyk became one of only three boxers to have unified the cruiserweight world titles and become a world heavyweight champion, joining 1984 Olympic gold medalist Evander Holyfield and Britian’s David Haye.

Usyk, who was born in Ukraine, had refused to give up his Ukrainian citizenship when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.