Andrew Wasilewski is a winner of the prestigious Vectory Award 2022 for business, but to us, Andrew is the CEO of Knockout Promotions, a boxing stalwart and friend.
He is is also a courageous humanitarian who`s the logistical backbone of an elite group of Polish Entrepreneurs trying to rescue and aid as many Ukrainians as possible. His colleague, Grazyna Oliwa says “… Andrew is an instrumental part of the organization and when we’re down he gives us the punching power, as one would expect from a member of our community.
Since the invasion began, Andrew, with friends on both sides, to assist as many people caught up in this tragic situation as possible. Selflessly, he and his group pursue justice, using his network of colleagues and friends to save, house and supply as many people as he can.
In the midst of this darkness, there are people who generate some light and hope. Read what Andrew has to say and take some inspiration from it.
It is our privilege at the WBC to acknowledge him as a recipient of the Love Without Borders citation and call Andrew Wasilewski a true and loyal friend.
Jill – For those who don’t know you outside of boxing, tell us about yourself.
My name is Andrew Wasilewski, I’m a Polish boxing promoter living in Warsaw, Poland. I have been active in boxing since 1999, I have organised over 200 TV boxing galas, I have promoted several World Champions, for example, Krzysztof Diablo Włodarczyk, a many-years WBC and IBF World Champion. I I run my own business, which is the majority shareholder of the MAK Group, the largest Polish group of companies operating in the area of insurance brokerage. We employ about 350 people and have over 4 000 agents. We are active in 11 countries in Eastern and Central Europe.
Jill-How did you feel when you heard the invasion had begun?
It was a complete shock for us Poles! We knew that something would happen after Putin assembled a powerful army of over 150 000 soldiers at the Ukrainian border. But hardly anyone was able to predict that a regular war would break out, right next to us, a war like we used to read about in books or watch in films But this has happened, and it’s something unimaginable!
Jill – As a boxing man and humanitarian, you have friends on both sides. How does this effect you?
It`s true, I am a professionally and socially open and active person, and I have friends, among others in Russia and in Ukraine.
I am not going to harangue my friends in Russia. What American, English or German people will never fully understand, and, after so many years of communism in Poland, we, Poles know really well, is the fact that it is caused by the strength and depth of a certain indoctrination, propaganda, a completely separate vision of the world, in which most Russians believe in good faith. I am convinced that a large part of this proud nation really believes that Putin, by attacking Ukraine, murdering thousands of innocent people, is actually defending Russia. This is complete nonsense, but I’m sure most Russians believe it is true. Neither I nor you can convince them. I will not even try.
Jill – How is the war effecting your country?
This war is a real shock for us Poles, Ukraine’s neighbours. Our nations have different histories. There were times that were also very bloody. But that’s history. In recent years, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians, who often speak Polish, have lived and worked in Poland. Poland is a member of the European Union; our economy and the entire country have developed tremendously over the last 25 years. Ukraine has developed definitely less, being outside the European Union. Practically in every restaurant in Warsaw, for example, someone from the service comes from Ukraine and Ukrainian doctors work in every hospital. We used to live in full harmony and cooperation. And, suddenly, the war broke out!
What happened in Poland was also unbelievable. Suddenly our whole nation, society united. Almost 40 million Poles in Poland and several million abroad, all of us naturally rushed to help Ukraine, immersed in full turmoil and chaos.
Jill – Tell us about your efforts towards peace and assistance to others?
I am active in many associations. Among others, in Pracodawcy RP, the largest Polish association of employers and in Corporate Connections. https://360.pb.pl/supportukraine
Our Group consists of about 200 Polish companies, including manufacturers of drugs, food, clothes and many other things.
Ukraine suddenly began to need everything: from drugs to offensive and defensive weapons, from generators to walkie-talkies, from uniforms to bandages, in quantities of several thousand units each day.
A bit spontaneously, I became a sort of logistics coordinator, both for goods and people. Every day, I try to help my colleagues deliver any goods they can handle in the quantity of about 20 000,000 lbs per day. From the first day, we have also dealt with the transport of people. We have transported refugees from the encircled and bombed cities. To the Polish border, to Warsaw, to other Polish cities, but also sometimes straight away to Western Europe.
Jill – What have you/your groups accomplished?
After 4 weeks, in Poland we have about 2 million refugees, guests from Ukraine, mostly women and children, including hundreds of children from orphanages and hospitals. Many of my colleagues do really great things. For example, Rafał Sonik, the winner of the Paris-Dakar Rally, is currently caring for about 3 000 people in Krakow, including a group of disabled children; Tomasz Misiak, one of the well-known large Polish entrepreneurs, is the guy, who, in fact, organised us; Rafał Brzoska, a very well-known and respected Polish billionaire, dedicated huge funds and other resources of his powerful Inpost company to help Ukraine and Ukrainians.
The whole world thought that Russia would conquer Ukraine in a few days. The incredible bravery of Ukrainians, fantastic figures such as President Zelenskyy, the legendary boxers Klitschko brothers, Lomachenko and Usyk among them turned out to be a nut that Putin could not crack. This is another total surprise for all of us. What power can a dream of freedom and democracy be…
Certainly, the Russian leader did not expect almost the entire world to unite against him. And we, Poles as neighbours, are exactly in the centre of it all. A nice picture for us are American uniformed soldiers on the streets of many Polish cities. The world after this war will be different, I believe it will be much better… and this will happen thanks to Ukrainian heroism and The terrible harm to Ukraine.
Jill: What do you think the futuyre brings?
I believe that this war will end soon, Slava Ukraini!
Jill: Please share your hopes and concluding thoughts?
I think that anyone, who would see thousands of terrified, travel-tired mothers with small bags carrying children in their arms, who cross the Polish border on foot sometimes at night and in the cold… everyone would rush to help. You don’t have to go all the way to the border. It is enough to go to the railway station, for example in Warsaw. For a few days in Warsaw, I had the honour of hosting the closest family of Alexander Krassyuk, my long-time close friend and promoter. For example, Usyk: his wife Julia and his children. Alexander organised everything perfectly and took care of everything, and yet the deep sadness in her beautiful, wise eyes was unbearable. This uncertainty about what to do next when it’s over. War is a really terrible thing; politicians cause it and entire nations suffer. I never expected that something like this would happen in my lifetime, in the centre of Europe.