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Boxing clever: Putin names Russian ex-world kickboxing champ Khasikov head of Buddhist republic

Boxing clever: Putin names Russian ex-world kickboxing champ Khasikov head of Buddhist republic
Former world champion kickboxer Batu Khasikov will be using his well-honed ringcraft in a very different arena after President Vladimir Putin made him the head of Russia’s Republic of Kalmykia.

Khasikov, 38, was named as the replacement for outgoing governor Alexey Orlov, who announced on Wednesday that he was resigning from a post he has held since 2010.

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Decorated former kickboxer Khasikov – nicknamed ‘Batukhan’ – previously served as a representative for Kalmykia in the Federation Council, and from June 2017 has been an adviser to the head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs.

He has now been promoted to the head of a region which is perhaps best known as being Europe’s only Buddhist republic.

It has a population of just under 300,000, and is bordered by the Caspian Sea to the south.

The region was headed from 1993 to 2010 by Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, who was also World Chess Federation (FIDE) chief between 1995 and 2010.

Khasikov won numerous titles during a glittering kickboxing career, including being crowned World Kickboxing Association champion in 2010, and specializes in other combat sports including sambo and jiu-jitsu.  

He also co-founded the Russian MMA promotion now known as Fight Nights Global.  

Khasikov’s appointment comes amid a raft of regional leadership changes. The head of the Altai Republic, Alexander Berdnikov, recently resigned, while Chelyabinsk governor Boris Dubrovsky is also leaving his post.

 Murmansk region head Marina Kovtun is also said to have penned a letter of resignation, although her departure has yet to be confirmed.

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