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Georgian Boxing Champion Detained in the US Connects his Future with Russia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Friday, July 20
Georgian middleweight boxing champion Avtandil Khurtsidze who was detained in the US last year, says that he has never felt support from the Georgian government and says that when America deports him he will continue his career in Russia.

The sentence delivered against him this June by the US court envisaged up to 40 years in prison, as the boxer was charged for his connections with a criminal gang, racketeering and money laundering.

However, the court later justified him in several charges and as Khurtsidze wrote on social media, he was found guilty of only racketing and illegal gambling.

I will leave prison in a year, the boxer wrote then.

Now he says that the Georgian government [he did not specify which government he meant] was never happy with his success.

I know the reason. I have never taken part in crackdown of rallies or beating of pensioners. Everyone, who has done so are now occupying posts, Khurtsidze posted on Facebook and said that he could not see support from Georgia when he was detained.

I feel more support from Russia. If the US deports me and this will happen, I will continue my career in Russia. I already have proposals, but I will do my best to stay in the US. I will never ever hold the Georgian flag again, he said.

Khurtsidze was arrested in New York together with 14 other Georgians with charges of membership of Russian criminal syndicate in July 2017.

Another famous Georgian boxer Levan Makashvili was released soon, while Khurtsidze was sentenced to pretrial detention.

15 Georgians were among 33 members of a Russian gang who were charged with racketeering, fraud, narcotics, firearms, and stolen property offences in the United States about a year ago.