Billy Joe Saunders-Avtandil Khurtsidze world title fight called off

08/06/2017 18:46

WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders' title defence against madatory challenger Avtandil Khurtsidze , scheduled to take place on July 8 at the Copper Box Arena in London, has been called off after the Georgian fighter was arrested.

Khurtsidze, who earned the world title shot when he won the interim WBO Middleweight title in April with a fifth round TKO victory over Britain's Tommy Langford in Leicester, was arrested in New York after being linked to charges relating to a Russian organised crime gang, and he was forced to pull out of the bout because he will be unable to travel to the UK.

Promoter Frank Warren said: "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."

Saunders was returning to the ring having not fought since his points win over Artur Akavov in December.