Avtandil Khurtsidze Out Of Prison, Seeks To Re-start Boxing Career



Avtandil Khurtsidze Out Of Prison, Seeks To Re-start Boxing Career

Middleweight boxer Avtandil Khurtsidze is looking to make a comeback. The 43 year old middleweight from the nation of Georgia holds a 33-2-2 record. His last bout took place in 2017.

The boxer has been incarcerated after being found guilty of racketeering and wire fraud in June 2018. Authorities said Khurtsidze acted an enforcer for a criminal organization, called Shulaya.

“I am back my friends,” the fighter, who made Brooklyn his home, said on social media.

Avtandil Khurtsidze told me he’d be talking to his coaching team, Gary Stark Sr and Andre Rozier, about re-starting his boxing career.

Avtandil Khurtsidze with title belt

Avtandil Khurtsidze with title belt, off his Instagram page. The IG has been dormant since 2017

Authorities Accused Avtandil Khurtsidze Of Various Offenses

Prosecutors said Khurtsidze used violence while engaging in extortion. Also, they said the crew of wrong-doers ran illegal gambling and also operated a brothel in Brooklyn.

In court, prosecutors spoke of a scheme to predict casino slot machines algorithms. That included the kidnapping of a software engineer in Las Vegas back in 2014.

Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim spoke of the operation which netted Avtandil Khurtsidze and more associates. “Today, we have charged 33 members and associates of a Russian organized crime syndicate allegedly engaging a panoply of crimes around the country,” Kim said. “The indictments include charges against the alleged head of this national criminal enterprise. This is one of the first federal racketeering charges ever brought against a Russian ‘vor.’ The dizzying array of criminal schemes committed by this organized crime syndicate allegedly include a murder-for-hire conspiracy. Also, a plot to rob victims by seducing and drugging them with chloroform, the theft of cargo shipments containing over 10,000 pounds of chocolate. Plus, fraud on casino slot machines using electronic hacking devices.”

The Avtandil Khurtsidze v BJ Saunders fight didn't happen

The Avtandil Khurtsidze v BJ Saunders fight didn't happen

Khurtsidze Sentenced To Ten Years, He Had Solid Momentum When Charged

Avtandil Khurtsidze received a sentence of ten years. The boss of the gang, Razhden Shulaya, got 45 years. Khurtsidze’s legal team had maintained that his sentence was too harsh, above and beyond sentencing norms for similar situations. Supposedly, Khurtsidze would be released early, in 2021. But the timeline shifted, obviously.

Khurtsidze had momentum going at the time of his arrest. He beat Brit boxer Tommy Langford for the interim WBO middleweight title.

Then, he had a different sort of fight on his hands. His planned battle against Billy Joe Saunders in July 2017 went down the drain. At the time, his then-promoter Lou DiBella spoke about the shocker development. “He let many people down who believed in him, but no one more than himself,” DiBella told ESPN. “Just a waste, and it's all on him for choosing the dark side.” Trainer Andre Rozier said he had zero clue that Khurtsidze engaged in unlawful activities.

The Georgia native turned pro in 2002. He challenged Hassan N’dam for the WBA interim world middleweight title in 2010. Khurtsidze lost by unanimous decision. In 2016, Avtandil Khurtsidze beat then 19-0-1 Antoine Douglas on Showtime (TKO10). That really lifted his profile. Next, Khurtsidze downed Langford, and hopes were high that he’d overpower Saunders. Instead, Johnny Law dropped and stopped Khurtsidze.

Reporters had described Avantdil Khurtsidze as a “human brick wall,” and “proverbial wall of granite.” Now, we will see how that mandated time away from the sport affected him.

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.