Andrea Bocelli has been announced as an IJF Ambassador ©IJF

Italian classical tenor Andrea Bocelli has been announced as the latest International Judo Federation (IJF) Ambassador.

Bocelli is credited with being one of the main figureheads of “popera”, with the genre of music acting as a cross-over between pop and classical opera.

The recording artist has enjoyed widespread success having had 14 solo studio albums, three greatest hits albums and nine operas, with his overall sales worldwide totalling more than 150 million to date.

The 57-year-old was presented with Ambassador status by IJF President Marius Vizer during a visit to Budapest, where the organisation's headquarters are located.

Having given the Italian star his ambassador status, Vizer expressed his delight that Bocelli had accepted the post and praised his work.

"This is a great honour for the international judo community to have such a great person, human being and artist as the new IJF ambassador,” the IJF President said.

Bocelli, who became blind at the age of 12, launched the Andrea Bocelli Foundation in 2011 with the charity aiming to fund medical research and support those living in poverty through a variety of research projects.

Andrea Bocelli has sold over 150 million records worldwide
Andrea Bocelli has sold over 150 million records worldwide ©IJF

In addition to becoming an IJF Ambassador the Italian has received several honours in recognition of his career, including being awarded the Grand Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in Rome on March 4, 2006.

He was also awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010 in appreciation of his contribution to live theatre.

Bocelli's appointment comes ahead of the South Korean city of Jeju hosting the final IJF Grand Prix event of 2015 from November 26 to 28, before the last Grand Slam competition takes place in Japan's capital city Tokyo from December 4 to 6.

IJF ambassadors, who pledge to promote the sport, also include two-times world champion  Joao Derly among their number.

The Brazilian was appointed into the role at this year's World Championships in Astana in August.

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