Ukraine has banned top Russian boxer Georgy Kushitashvili from entering the country for the European Boxing Championships because he had visited Crimea, Ukrainian and Russian officials said on June 14.
Kushitashvili was one of nine members of a 39-member Russian boxing delegation who were barred from entering Ukraine because of unauthorized visits to Crimea, which Russia illegally annexed in 2014, Ukrainian border authorities told AFP.
Kushitashvili was on his way to the European championships that are due to start in Kharkiv on June 16. He was the favorite to win in the 81-kilogram category.
Russia's boxing federation spokeswoman Vlada Romanova said Ukrainian officers halted her at a checkpoint at Kharkiv railway station along with Kushitashvili and they were deported back to Russia.
The European championships in Ukraine's second-largest city are also a qualifying tournament for the world championships, which will take place in Hamburg, Germany, starting on August 25.
Russian boxing federation Secretary-General Umar Kremlev told the press that Muslim Gadzhimagomedov will substitute for Kushitashvili at the European championships.