Oleksandr Usyk is the current king of the heavyweight division after defeating Anthony Joshua via unanimous decision.
His victory - which saw him win the WBA, IBF and WBO belts - made him just the third fighter in boxing history to unify at cruiserweight and heavyweight.
Ahead of his upcoming rematch against Joshua in April, Usyk has joined Parimatch Tech as a Responsible Gambling Ambassador.
Below, Planet Sport caught up with Ivan Liashenko, CMO Parimatch Tech, about how the partnership came into fruition.
How did the partnership with Usyk come about? Has it been pursued for a long time?
We've been following worldwide boxing events and top boxers for many years now, and had noticed the fans' increased interest in Oleksandr Usyk.
Not only is he a great athlete and boxing champion, but he is loved by so many, and his opinions are recognised and well-respected internationally. Because of this, we decided to offer him the opportunity to become an ambassador of our new Responsible Gambling project, and we were delighted when he agreed to the position.
We set up this project as we felt it was vital for us to convey the importance of responsible gambling to our customers, as well as helping to build the right, positive attitude towards our industry.
In partnership with Oleksandr, we are confident that our initiatives will reach a new level, and we will be able to spread the principles of responsible gambling to many.
Oleksandr's international reputation means he has a fantastic platform to help share these important messages and raise awareness on fair, responsible and transparent gambling.
What is the reason Usyk came on board as Responsible Gambling Ambassador specifically?
Usyk is a great boxer and an internationally acclaimed star. He understands the fun and excitement associated with gambling, but also that it must be carried out in a safe and responsible way, making him the perfect fit for this role.
His willpower, intrinsic motivation, and self-control are all values that are strongly regarded by the Parimatch Tech team, and we fully support a healthy balance between enjoying but remaining mindful when it comes to sports betting.
What can you say about your plans for Usyk in 2022?
With Usyk's help, we will continue to build on our current work and raise awareness of safe and responsible gambling practices throughout 2022.
2022 promises to be an exciting year of development for Parimatch Tech, too. We have several plans for developing advanced technical and analytical tools for monitoring and helping players through artificial intelligence.
These plans will help us to make important further progress in protecting our customers. We will also be conducting educational events for consumers on safe gambling.
Naturally, we will be working closely with Oleksandr on these advancements. His role will help us to promote them to our current and new customers and ensure as many people as possible hear about these new tools and how they can use them while enjoying betting on our platform.
How important is boxing for Parimatch, and how do you approach the sport from a marketing perspective?
Sponsorship is a vital part of our company's strategy, especially when it comes to communications and marketing. These opportunities help us to connect with our consumers, invest in key sporting areas and positively enhance our brand and corporate image.
For these opportunities, we cherry-pick specific athletes, who are chosen as we feel they understand our brand and customers. It is essential that our spokespeople fit in with our company principles, which is exactly why we wanted to work with Usyk.
Boxing has seen a massive surge in popularity and the sport's events continue to draw in huge viewership. Because of this, we saw the opportunity to expand our partnerships within this sector, especially as we wanted to communicate the important message of responsible gambling with as large of an audience as possible.
This is not a new sector for us though, as we have been investing in boxing for several years now, recognising it as an internationally loved sport. Parimatch has previously partnered with the legendary boxer, Mike Tyson, for example. We also work closely with Ukrainian boxing star Denis Berinchik.
As a company founded in Ukraine, we are particularly passionate about investing, supporting, and fostering talent from within the country. There are many world-famous Ukrainian fighters that we feel it is important to collaborate with through our marketing campaigns.
How selective is Parimatch when it comes to partnering with athletes and sports teams? What's your general criteria?
Each and every one of our partnership opportunities is uniquely chosen, and there are many factors that go into this process. We have been extremely fortunate to be able to partner with some of the best sportspeople within the business over the past years.
Before we start negotiations, though, we carry out evaluations to ensure this is a partnership which will benefit all parties. It is important for us to always do a lot of research and analyse a vast amount of information to determine the marketing impact too. This data helps us when we approach the spokesperson about the role.
The key things the Parimatch brand consider when it comes to any new ambassador is that they have an intense passion for their sport and share the same spirit as our company for sporting and entertainment.
Usyk ticks both those boxes which is why we are proud to have him as a Parimatch ambassador.