Russian-licensed boxers banned from UK

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David Avanesyan
David Avanesyan is Russian and fights next week in London

Russian and Belarusian boxers have been banned from fighting in the UK if they hold a boxing licence issued by their native country.

The British Boxing Board of Control announced the decision in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but it is not a complete ban for Russian or Belarusian fighters.

The BBBofC said it “will not permit boxers registered/licensed by the Russian Boxing Federation or Belarusian Federation of Professional Boxing to compete” in the UK.

The loophole means a Russian or Belarusian fighter could still fight in the UK should they hold a boxing licence from another country.

It could pave the way for Russian fighters like David Avanesyan – who is scheduled to defend his European welterweight title next weekend in London – to continue fighting in the UK with a different boxing licence.

The news comes after Ukrainian former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko called on Russian boxers to be barred from competing in the sport.

Klistchko said WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol should be prevented from fighting Mexican star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in Las Vegas in May.

“It’s nothing against the personalities or athletes, it’s about the politics of Russia,” Klitschko told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“Every Russian representative in this case needs to be sanctioned because this way we show to Russia that the world is against this senseless war. And there is no good in this war.”

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