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Middleweight Title Contender From Georgia Detained In U.S. Crime Case


Georgian boxer Advantil Khurtsidze (left) during his unsuccessful bid to win the world WBA middleweight boxing title against Cameroonian Hassan N'Dam in 2010.

A professional boxer from Georgia who was a month away from a world middleweight championship bout was ordered held without bail in New York on June 9 to await trial in an organized crime case.

Allegations that Avtandil Khurtsidze, 37, was caught on video punching a confidential government source in a gang investigation prompted a U.S. court to deem him a danger to the public who must remain behind bars.

Khurtsidze, who is listed on a Manhattan indictment with the alias "The Kickboxer," was arrested on June 7 in a case that targeted 31 members of an alleged Russian crime syndicate.

The arrest forced the postponement of Khurtsidze's July 8 championship fight in London.

Prosecutors say Khurtsidze provided muscle to a criminal enterprise blamed for an array of crimes including extortion, gambling, narcotics trafficking, and identity theft. They said violence or the threat of violence was critical to the organization's success.

Defense attorney Guy Oksenhendler denied the charges.

"My client is a world class fighter," he said. "He's a peaceful man. He's a warrior in the ring."

Based on reporting by AP and BBC.com
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