Billy Joe Saunders fight cancelled after opponent Avtandil Khurtsize is arrested in New York City

PUBLISHED: 15:32 08 June 2017 | UPDATED: 15:32 08 June 2017

Billy Joe Saunders' fight with Avtandil Khurtsidze has been postponed after the Georgian was arrested in New York City. Picture: ANDREW MILLIGAN/PA

Billy Joe Saunders' fight with Avtandil Khurtsidze has been postponed after the Georgian was arrested in New York City. Picture: ANDREW MILLIGAN/PA

PA Archive/PA Images

Billy Joe Saunders’ second world title defence has been cancelled – after his opponent was arrested in New York City.

The Hatfield WBO world middleweight champion was due to fight Avtandil Khurtsidze at London’s Copper Box on July 8.

However, the Georgian was arrested under the RICO (Racketeer and Corrupt Organizations) Act.

He is one of 33 arrested for racketeering, extortion, robbery, murder-for-hire conspiracy, fraud, narcotics, and firearms offences.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim said: “Today, we have charged 33 members and associates of a Russian organized crime syndicate allegedly engaging a panoply of crimes around the country. The indictments include charges against the alleged head of this national criminal enterprise.”

Saunders’ promoter Frank Warren also released a statement.

It said: “Today, Queensberry Promotions were informed that Billy Joe Saunders’ mandatory challenger Avtandil Khurtsidze was yesterday arrested in New York, indicted under the RICO Act.

“As such, his contest with WBO World Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders scheduled for Saturday 8th July at the Copper Box Arena, cannot take place on that date as his promoter Lou DiBella has confirmed he will be unable to travel.

“We are currently planning to postpone the fight to a later date.

“However, due to the obvious seriousness of this matter, Queensberry Promotions are given no choice but to wait for more details to emerge before anything can be confirmed.”

The show itself will still go ahead but with a new headline act and details will follow in due course.

Saunders’ reign has been dogged by problems ever since he defeated Andy Lee to win the strap in December 2015 meaning he has only had one fight since, a victory over Artur Akavov in December.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Welwyn Hatfield Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Welwyn Hatfield Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Welwyn Hatfield Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Four stalwart individuals have been nominated in the Welwyn Hatfield Times Community Awards for a Lifetime Achievement.

This week’s Pet of the Week is the “most lovable” pug in Hatfield.

Welwyn Garden City-based charity Isabel Hospice held a play and afternoon tea as part Dementia Awareness Week.

Numerous trains serving Welwyn Garden City, St Albans and Stevenage have been cancelled this morning as the Great Northern timetable chaos continues.

Most read stories

Local business directory

Hertfordshire's trusted business finder
HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Welwyn Hatfield Times e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Welwyn Hatfield Times weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter