David Avanesyan will avoid the ban on Russian and Belarussian boxers competing in the UK because the Russian boxes under a Serbian license. 

Avanesyan, who beat Shane Mosley for the WBA interim title in 2016, is due to defend his European welterweight title against Oskari Metz, of Finland, at Wembley Arena on March 19. 

The 33-year-old comes from Pyatigorsk in southern Russia, although his family is Armenian, and had his first 20 fights in Russia. For the last few years, he has been managed by Neil Marsh and trained by Carl Greaves in Newark, Nottinghamshire. 

This week the British Boxing Board of Control announced that it was joining in sanctions against Russia and Belarus in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine, as it announced that it would not permit boxers registered of licensed by the Russian Boxing Federation or Belarussian Federation of Professional Boxing to compete in the UK under its jurisdiction. 

But such a sanction will not affect Avanesyan, as it is understood that he is licensed in Serbia, despite having never boxed in the country. 

Avanesyan signed a promotional deal with Queensberry Promotions last year after back-to-back wins at Wembley over British challengers Josh Kelly and Liam Taylor.  

He is currently rated No 2 by the WBC, No 5 by the WBO and No 8 by the IBF (where he is listed as Armenian). He was also ranked No 12 by the WBA, although that position is now blank in their latest rankings after the names of some Russian boxers were redacted. Avanesyan’s position has been replaced by “not rated, #nowar”. 

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.