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Monday, January 21, 2019
Saunders v Khurtsidze: Fight cancelled due to challenger’s arrest | Boxing | Sport

Billy Joe Saunders was set to defend his WBO World Middleweight title against Avtandil Khurtsidze on July 8 at the Copper Box Arena, London.

However, the challenger was arrested yesterday in New York under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organisations Act (RICO) - forcing promoters to cancel the fight.

A statement from Saunders' manager Frank Warren read: "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."

The fight was set to be televised on BT Sport and BoxNation with an attractive undercard, including exciting young heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois.

And it has been confirmed these fights will still be going ahead, despite Saunders v Khurtsidze being called off.

"The event at the Copper Box Arena on July 8th, televised on BT Sport and BoxNation, will still take place," the statement continued.

"[It will] feature fantastic fights including the WBO European Light-Heavyweight Championship contest between Richard Baranyi and Anthony Yarde, the return of teenage Heavyweight sensation Daniel Dubois.

"And the eagerly-anticipated rematch between Darryll Williams and Jahmaine Smyle for the English Super-Middleweight title; with further additions to the card to follow in due course.

"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.

"Further information, including additions to the show, ticketing and refund options, will follow in due course.

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