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.

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. (RT)