David Avanesyan claims he was told not to speak about Russia while in England ahead of a boxing match
David Avanesyan recently fought in London. © James Chance / Getty Images
Russian boxer David Avanesyan claims that he was told not to speak Russian or to mention the country while in London for his impressive first-round finish of Finland’s previously unbeaten Oskari Metz.
Avanesyan, 33, trains in the UK but was born into an Armenian family in the Caucasus region of Pyatigorsk. The star enhanced his reputation near the summit of the welterweight rankings with his swift TKO win against Metz on Saturday – but claimed afterwards that he was advised backstage to hide his Russian connections due to the ongoing military operation in Ukraine.
“I was asked here so many times not to talk about Russia. ‘Don’t you dare say anything about Russia, don’t speak Russian,’ and so on,” Avanesyan told Match TV .
“I don’t like this atmosphere. In terms of people’s attitudes, I didn’t feel anything like that, everything was fine.
“Even in the locker room, during my conversation with friends, they said not to communicate in Russian. What is this?! We still continued to speak Russian.”
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Avanesyan’s experience in the United Kingdom came on the same evening that Moscow heavyweight Alexander Volkov headlined a UFC card in the English capital against hometown fighter Tom Aspinall, during which Volkov was relentlessly jeered by the crowd when it was announced he was from Russia by announcer Bruce Buffer.
Volkov was quickly defeated in the first round by his English opponent.
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As for Avanesyan, he says that he is expecting more robust tests in his future after scything through Metz on Saturday night.
“I am feeling happy, I have not seen my family for six weeks I worked hard and keep my belt,” he added after the fight.
“Hopefully after a month my manager and promoter phone me and say I have a world title fight. I am ready.”
Avanesyan’s next move remains unclear but the fighter who is ranked #2 by the WBO and #3 by the WBC appears poised for what could be career-defining fights against the likes of Conor Benn, Keith Thurman, or Jaron ‘Boots’ Ennis.