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ESPN Reveals 2022 Arthur Ashe Award For Courage Winner

Arthur Ashe Courage Award

LOS ANGELES, CA - JULY 17: NBA player Lebron James onstage after presenting the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at The 2013 ESPY Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on July 17, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images for ESPY)

Vitali Klitschko, former heavyweight boxing champion and current mayor of Kyiv, will receive the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the 2022 ESPYs.

Klitschko, who has been the Ukrainian capital city's mayor since 2014, has emerged as a prominent figure in the country's defense against Russia's invasion. He has taken up arms alongside his brother, Wladimir, and current boxers Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk.

"It is a great honor for me to receive this award," Klitschko said, per an ESPN press release. "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 three months. This is an award for everyone who defends the independence and freedom of Ukraine."

Klitschko went 45-2 with 41 knockout wins and a WBO heavyweight title victory during a dominant boxing career before pursuing politics. He's the longest-serving mayor in Kyiv's history.

"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."

First presented to Jim Valvano in 1993, the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage has since recognized a vast assortment of people from Muhammad Ali and Bill Russell to Nelson Mandela, Billie Jean King, Pat Summitt, and most recently Maya Moore in 2021.

This year's ESPYs will air live on July 20, starting at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.