In the end, Oleksandr Uysk decided he could do more for his country in the ring than hunkered down in a basement.

The WBA, WBO, and IBF heavyweight champion made headlines last month when he announced he would temporarily forgo his rematch with Anthony Joshua in order to assist his homeland of Ukraine in its fight against the ongoing Russian invasion.

But after a few weeks, Usyk made an about-face and elected instead to move forward with the Joshua rematch. Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) defeated Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) last September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London to become unified heavyweight champion. Tyson Fury holds the only other significant title (WBC) in the division.

Alexander Krassyuk, the Ukrainian promoter for Usyk, said his charge eventually came to the realization that given his celebrity and platform, he would be able to benefit his country more by defending his heavyweight titles.

“It was a very difficult decision to leave Ukraine,” Krassyuk told Rob Tebbutt. “Extremely difficult.

“[But] the announcements he can make through the public through what he does is just extraordinary. You can’t lose that chance. You can’t stay away from an exclusive opportunity to say to the whole world, to appeal to the whole world, that we need to unite around my homeland, we need to unite around Ukraine and to stop the war and let all Ukrainians come home safe and sound.”

Usyk is not the only Ukrainian boxer to lend a voice to his country’s war effort. The Klitschko brothers, Wladimir and Vitali, have repeatedly made the media rounds, calling attention to the Russian invasion and the threat to democracy Russian president Vladimir Putin’s attack poses. Former lightweight champion Vasiliy Lomachenko, a close friend of Usyk, has also put his boxing career on hold to participate in Ukraine’s territorial defense force.

Krassyuk said that he is working with Usyk to generate proceeds to support Ukraine, as well as the more than 12 million Ukrainian refugees who have fled their homes.

“He understands that he is fighting at an exclusively high level,” Krassyuk said of Usyk. “The whole world is going to be sitting and watching this fight and whatever messages he sends to the world will definitely be accepted. A part of that we’re working now on strategy to fund some extraordinary money to help Ukraine to help Ukrainian refugees, to help Ukrainian people survive and stay strong in these hard times.

“He is not fighting for himself,” Krassyuk continued. “He’s not fighting for glory or for fame. He’s not just fighting for his personal legacy. He’s fighting for the whole country. He’s fighting for the whole democratic world.”

Usyk, who is currently training in Poland, is expected to face Joshua on July 23 in the Middle East.