Avtandil Khurtsidze is cleared after minor medical issue
Middleweight punching machine Avtandil Khurtsidze is cleared to resume his career after a minor health issue sidelined him for nearly two months, promoter Lou DiBella told RingTV.com while declining to reveal the details of his condition other than to say he’s healthy and ready to return to the ring.
Khurtsidze was scheduled to perform on Sept. 30 at the UIC Forum in Chicago underneath Mike Lee vs. Chris Traitti in a televised spot on CBS Sports Net but was pulled for precautionary reasons. “He had a fight scheduled and then he had a medical issue and the issue is now resolved,” DiBella said in a phone interview. “He just got cleared to fight again. He was out for about six to eight weeks.”
But finding an opponent for the 5-4 spark plug is another issue. He hasn’t fought since stopping Antoine Douglas in March in the tenth round and network interest for the action fighter has been tepid for some reason. Khurtsidze (32-2-2, 21 knockouts) is rated No. 1 in the WBO. “We want an eliminator,” DiBella said. “We want to fight for the mandatory in the (WBO).”
Similarly, fellow middleweights Sergiy Derevyanchenko (9-0, 7 KOs) and Levgen Khytrov (14-0, 12 KOs) are also ready and willing to face anyone but have yet to procure dates for their next fights. Such is the dilemma for DiBella and advisor Keith Connolly in bringing them the biggest fights possible. While possessing talent and high rankings, opponents don’t seem to be in a rush to face them. Derevyanchenko is targeted to fight in Januar while Khtrov is eyeing a fight before the end of the year.
“All these guys are ready for big steps,” DiBella said. “But there are no big dates with big steps available. Khtrov will fight before the end of the year. I’ll get him a fight. These guys are ready for big opportunities. At the moment, the opportunities aren’t there. So I’m out there doing my best to keep them active. They both got wins not that long ago. And I have to get them both in the ring in the next three months.”
Derevyanchenko, a former Olympian, last fought in July when he destroyed Sam Soliman in two rounds in a WBC eliminator for the right to move closer to a potential shot against champion Gennady Golovkin. Khytrov also fought in July, stopping Paul Mendez in nine rounds. “These guys want to fight GGG,” Connnolly said of the three above-mentioned fighters. “They’d actually rather fight him than someone else. They’re ready in 2017 to move up the ranks and fight anybody.”
Struggling to locate a copy of RING magazine? Try here or…
You can subscribe to the print and digital editions of RING magazine by clicking the banner or here. You can also order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page. On the cover this month: Double Olympic gold medalist Claressa Shields. The U.K. Issue featuring cover star Carl Frampton is available now.