Oleksandr Usyk is just over a fortnight away from his first defence of the unified titles.
The Ukrainian takes on Anthony Joshua in Saudi Arabia on August 20 in a rematch for the WBA Super, WBO, IBF and IBO belts, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK.
Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight champion, moved up to the sport’s premier division and convincingly outpointed the British fighter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London last September.
And when the pair meet again at the Jeddah Superdome, the 35-year-old’s home country will be able to watch the fight free of charge after he was gifted TV rights for the fight by its Saudi organisers.
Usyk initially signed up to join his local territorial defence force in Kyiv, after his home country came under attack from Russia, before ultimately being persuaded to leave and train for the AJ rematch. It remains ongoing with a great number of Usyk’s compatriots enduring awful suffering as a result.
He will return to the boxing ring and attempt to bring a source of joy and pride to his country by retaining the belts he won 11 months ago.
Eddie Hearn, who promotes Joshua and has an interest in Usyk alongside K2 Promotions, agreed to a deal to take the return to Saudi Arabia and sold all the global TV rights to the Saudi organisers as part of this pact.
Usyk attempted to buy the TV rights from the Saudi organisers so that he could then put in on free TV in his homeland, but the Saudis refused to accept any payment from him and instead informed him that they would gift him the rights free of charge to allow him to do this.
Alex Krassyuk of K2 spoke to talkSPORT regarding the TV situation in Ukraine:
“He intended to buy, but received it [free] for Ukraine.”
Streaming service Megogo will air proceedings, alongside Usyk’s YouTube channel and state public TV channel Suspilne.
TalkSPORT, will provide radio coverage of the event in the UK.