The U.S. Justice Department has announced that middleweight contender Avtandil Khurtsidze (33-2-2, 22 KOs) was found guilty of one count of racketeering conspiracy and one count of wire-fraud conspiracy, each of which carries a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Last year, the tough boxer was on the verge of a mandatory world title shot, when he knocked out Tommy Langford in April to secure a crack at WBO world champion Billy Joe Saunders.
But before he was able to get his hands on Saunders, the hard punching Khurtsidze, 39-years-old, was arrested as a part of a RICO prosecution - with allegations that he worked as an "enforcer" to Brooklyn mob boss Razhden Shulaya.
Khurtsidze has been in federal lockup since his arrest. The trial began earlier this month.
Shulaya was also convicted as the kingpin, while Khurtsidze was pegged as the enforcer.
Khurtsidze’s lawyer, Megan Benett, tried to argue that the two men knew each other from their days in post-Soviet Georgia and that they “socialized together” — but they were not associates in a criminal organization.
But the video evidence created a tough defense for Khurtsidze.
The prosecutors indicated to the jury, that several videos in their possession showed the boxer threatening or assaulting people on behalf of Shulaya.
In one video, as BoxingScene.com reported last year, Khurtsidze is seen punching a man directly in the face after he is accused of stealing money from a Brighton Beach poker ring Shulaya allegedly ran. Shulaya then slaps to the man’s face and tell him he had better pay up or suffer the consequences.
The organization, which Khurtsidze is alleged to have been a part of, is being accused of running several illegal operations - including the buying and selling untaxed cigarettes, running an illegal poker ring that cheated its players and hacking the code on slot machine software so that members of the organization could rig the winnings.