By Igor Lazorin, tass
On Monday, Russian cruiserweight Murat Gassiev arrived back to his homeland in North Ossetia, and at the Vladikavkaz airport he was met by more than 2 thousand residents of the republic, as well as a delegation from South Ossetia.
According to the press service of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for North Ossetia, they provided police officers for security purposes at the airport.
"To meet the champion in the airport, more than 2 thousand people turned out. They were anticipating the athlete's arrival from Moscow for several hours," the spokesman said.
On July 21, Ukrainian's Oleksandr Usyk defeated Gassiev by unanimous decision in the finals of the first World Series of Boxing Series (WBSS) and unified the cruiserweight world titles of the World Boxing Council (WBC), World Boxing Organization (WBO), World Boxing Association (WBA) and International Boxing Federation (IBF).
Despite the loss, Gassiev was met at home like a winner.
After the sportsman left the airport's building, he was applauded by the large crowd with chants of "Iron" and "champion", and he was brought three traditional Ossetian pies and ritual beer.
"You glorify your people, your country, and honorably bear the name of the Ossetian. Let there be many victories ahead, your little republic is proud of you," said one of the local elders.
Then, accompanied by dozens of bikers and cars with the flags of North Ossetia and Russia, Gassiev was taken from the airport to the city.
"Of course, we did not want to let the fans down, but this is a sport and with God's help we will return with a new force," Gassiev told reporters.
Gassiev is now pondering the possibility of moving up to the heavyweight division for his next fight. His head trainer, Abel Sanchez, has stated in several interviews that he would like to see his boxer compete at the higher weight.