HomeTelevisionVitali Klitschko to Receive Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at

Vitali Klitschko to Receive Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at

Former heavyweight boxing champion and mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko is being honored at this year’s ESPYS with the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage.

Airing live Wednesday, July 20 at 8/7c, on ABC, the ESPYS will take time to recognize this deserving member of the sporting world for making a difference far beyond the field of play as Klitschko continues to impact the world in an indelible way. Having been the mayor of Kyiv since 2014, Klischko’s been an integral figure in his country’s defense since Ukraine was invaded by Russian forces in February.

Serving as one of the faces of Ukrainian resilience and inspiring people around the world, Klitschko and his brother Wladimir, also a former heavyweight champion, pledged to take up arms alongside their fellow citizens. As leaders in Ukraine’s heroic response to the invasion, their example inspired others such as fellow boxers Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk to return home to Ukraine to join defense battalions themselves.

Vitali Klitschko

(Credit: Oleksii Samsonov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)

“It is a great honor for me to receive this award,” said Klitschko. “I am convinced that this is a recognition of the courage and inviolability of the Ukrainian people, who have been bravely resisting the Russian aggressor for more than 3 months. This is an award for everyone who defends the independence and freedom of Ukraine.”

The Klitschkos grew up as sons of a Soviet major general they were brought up in the boxing world of the old Soviet amateur system. Vitali finished his professional career with a 45-2 record, winning a WBO heavyweight title and memorably fighting Lennox Lewis in a highly-debated 2003 match. Vitali Klitschko’s political career began in 2006 and despite initially running for president in 2014, he ended up entering and winning the mayoral race.

“Vitali’s poise and strength as his city and country faces unfathomable tests have far surpassed the incredible resolve he demonstrated as one of boxing’s top heavyweight champions,” said Executive Editor-At-Large ESPN Content, Rob King. “His commitment to the people of Ukraine has been a global inspiration, and his bravery is a prime example of the resilience of the human spirit. It is our privilege to bestow him with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.”

The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage has become one of the most prestigious in the sports world having been awarded to icons like Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela. Stay tuned to see the ESPYS this July when Vitali Klitschko will officially be recognized.

ESPYS, Wednesday, July 20, 8/7c, ABC

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