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Russia's Putin gives citizenship to Soviet emigrant boxer

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President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to Soviet-born U.S. boxing star Oleg Maskayev, the Kremlin press office said Saturday.
MOSCOW, December 9 (RIA Novosti) - President Vladimir Putin has granted Russian citizenship to Soviet-born U.S. boxing star Oleg Maskayev, the Kremlin press office said Saturday.

WBC heavyweight champion Maskayev, 37, who became a naturalized American citizen after moving to the United States in the 1990s, applied for Russian citizenship earlier this year to be able to compete for his country of origin on the boxing ring.

After clinching the world heavyweight title from U.S.-born Hasim Rahman in a Las Vegas fight in August, Maskayev said, "I'm proud of where I come from, I consider myself a Russian-American."

He will defend the title Sunday when he takes on Uganda's Peter Okhello in Moscow.

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