Ex-Billy Joe Saunders mandatory challenger stabbed in jail
Georgian fighter Avtandil Khurtsidze was all set to challenge Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO middleweight title in the summer of 2017 when the mandatory contender was arrested by police in New York.
Khurtsidze was linked to a crime syndicate in Brooklyn. He’s one of the criminals jailed for their alleged part in various organized operations.
Known as the ‘Shulaya Enterprise,’ a clampdown was ordered by the U.S. Justice Department. They took down several involved.
A year on from his collapsed world title fight with Saunders, Khurtsidze was found guilty of racketeering and wire fraud connected with the offenses and remanded in custody.
While awaiting his fate, Khurtsidze and another of his associates being held at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center have been stabbed by a rival gang in prison.
According to Russian reports, the men suffered multiple stab wounds. Khurtsidze suffered a gash to his face.
Further investigations have pointed to some altercation between the rivals, resulting in Khurtsidze and his un-named friend being hospitalized.
Accused of being the ‘muscle’ behind the criminal syndicate, it’s unknown whether the attack on Khurtsidze is linked to his outside activities.
The charges against Khurtsidze have already cost him his interim WBO belt, possibly his future career. His Georgian citizenship, which the 39-year-old decided to renounce after citing a lack of help from authorities in his homeland, is already gone.
Sentencing is expected to come at some point in 2018 as Khurtsidze recovers from his injuries.