Former Boxer and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko to Receive Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at 2022 ESPYs

·2 min read
Kyiv's Mayor Vitali Klitschko looks on during a session on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on May 25, 2022
Kyiv's Mayor Vitali Klitschko looks on during a session on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on May 25, 2022

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP via Getty Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko will receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at this year's ESPYs.

Klitschko, a former heavyweight champion boxer, has been a pivotal figure for the Ukrainian city since the start of Russia's invasion in February. The 50-year-old has helped defend Kyiv despite enduring a weeks-long siege of the capital.

"It is a great honor for me to receive this award," Klitschko said in a statement from ESPN. "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," he added.

The Arthur Ashe Award for Courage is given to individuals who make a difference outside the world of sports. Klitschko has served as the mayor of Kyiv since 2014.

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"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," Rob King, ESPN's Executive Editor-At-Large, said in a statement.

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"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," King added.

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Former recipients of the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage include Muhammad Ali, Kevin Love, Bill Russell, and Maya Moore.

The 2022 ESPYs will air live on July 20 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.