Kickboxer Gets 11 Years for Killing Locksmith

SARATOV — A Russian kickboxer has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for killing a man with a single punch, a court official said Monday.

Rasul Gaitamirov, 23, who competed in various Thai boxing events, taunted a passer-by in the center of the southern city of Saratov and then punched him in the head.

The victim, identified in local media as 25-year-old locksmith Rasim Nurmamyatov, struck his head on the ground and did not regain consciousness before dying Oct. 2, 11 days after the attack.

Gaitamirov was found guilty of the offense of "causing severe damage to health, resulting in the death of a person by negligence," and a separate charge of theft.

"Gaitamirov has been sentenced to 11 years in a prison colony of the usual system," court spokeswoman Anastasia Tudakova said.

The maximum sentence he could have faced was 15 years.

He has also been fined a total of 952,000 rubles ($30,500), she said. Gaitamirov, who reportedly wept in court during the trial, has the right to appeal the verdict.

The case has echoes of a similar incident in Moscow, in which mixed martial arts champion Rasul Mirzaev, 26, caused the death of 19-year-old student Ivan Agafonov with a single punch in 2011. The case turned on a dispute over whether the punch had killed Agafonov, or the impact of his head on the ground.

Mirzaev was sentenced to two years in prison in November but immediately released on time already served, amid protests outside the courtroom by nationalist groups calling for a harsher sentence.

The case captivated the country and focused debate on relations between ethnic Russians and people from the North Caucasus, such as Mirzaev.

In another case, well-known amateur boxer Valery Tretyakov faces involuntary manslaughter charges after a man died following a fight outside a nightclub in Yekaterinburg last month.