Vladimir Putin welcomed boxers to Russia for the AIBA Men's World Championships ©Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed boxers visiting the country for the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Men's World Championships.

Putin recorded a video message, played at the Opening Ceremony of the competition here. 

"This sport is very popular in Russia," he said.

"The opportunity to host the World Championships for world top boxers is, by all means, a very significant event for us. 

"We did our utmost to organise this competition on the highest level, so that boxers who came to Ekaterinburg could demonstrate their maximum skills and spectators could enjoy bright, uncompromised bouts and acquaint with the beautiful capital of the Urals and our hospitable country in general."

Putin also spoke of the importance of hosting sporting events, with Yekaterinburg set to hold matches for the International Volleyball Federation Men’s World Championship in 2022 and the 2023 Summer Universiade.

Putin's message was played during the AIBA Men's World Championships Opening Ceremony ©Yekaterinburg 2019
Putin's message was played during the AIBA Men's World Championships Opening Ceremony ©Yekaterinburg 2019

"Support of sport initiatives, contribution to the organisation of major international sports events have always been and will be among the priorities for Russia," he said.

"We consider them as an important resource for promotion of healthy lifestyle culture, strengthening of the basic sports principles in the society, equality, justice and mutual respect."

He finished his address by wishing luck to all of the participants.

"I am confident that this forthcoming AIBA World Boxing Championships will contribute to further development of this sport and, of course, attract new fans," he said.

"Good luck, excellent health and all the best to all of you."

Competition began here today with the preliminary round of the middleweight division and continues tomorrow with the first round of the light heavyweight and heavyweight categories.

A total of 365 athletes from 78 countries have entered the event, which runs until September 21.