Former world heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko of Ukraine will receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Valor, for his performance in defending his country against the invasion of Russia.
Vitali Klitschko, former WBC heavyweight champion, will be honored with the Arthur Ashe Award for Valor on Wednesday, July 20. This is an important award given by ESPN during the ESPYs Awards, to the people who with their courage and sportsmanship have changed the world. The inspiration for the award was the tennis player Arthur Ashe who joined the Civil Rights movement in the United States, opposed Apartheid in South Africa and was a symbol of the fight against AIDS.
Klitschko, the mayor of Kiev, Ukraine, since 2014, has been a central figure in defending his country since it was invaded by Russian forces in late February, serving as one of the faces of the Ukrainian resistance. Along with his brother, Wladimir, also a former world champion, they vowed to take up arms alongside their fellow citizens and led the Ukrainians' response to the invasion.
“It is a great honor for me to receive this award. I am convinced that this is recognition of the courage of the Ukrainian people, who have bravely resisted the Russian aggressor for more than three months. This is an award for all those who defend the independence and freedom of Ukraine, Vitali commented..
Klitschko first entered the Ukrainian political sphere in 2006 when he ran for mayor of kyiv and finished second in the election. He remained politically active even after returning to the ring, initially pledging to run for president in 2014 before eventually entering the mayoral race and winning. Since then, he has become the longest-serving mayor in the city's history, and remains a leading figure in the country.
Klitschko finished his career with 45 wins, only 2 losses and making 12 successful defenses of his WBC heavyweight title, in his last stint as champion.
Vitali is considered one of the best heavyweights in history, he is a man who has forged his life inside and outside the ring with dedication, passion and discipline; who sets goals and does not rest until he achieves them, a brave man who fights for his dreams and for the freedom of his country.
At the WBC we are deeply proud of our beloved Vitali, because in addition to the fact that he has always proudly worn the green and gold colors, being a worthy representative of the organization, he has also made it clear to us that his values go beyond the string.