BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (July 3, 2008) – The World Boxing Association ruled today at its Directory Meeting that WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev will be considered “champion in recess” due to an injury and that he has until June 26, 2009 to fight for the title.
Negotiations have started between representatives of the WBA’s top two rated heavyweights, ex-WBA champion Nikolai Valuev and former two-time WBA title-holder John “The Quietman” Ruiz (43-7-1, 29 KOs), respectively, to fight for the WBA “regular” heavyweight championship belt. The Valuev-Ruiz will be obliged to fight Chagaev by June 26, 2009.
“We’re happy to get an opportunity to fight for the WBA title again,” Ruiz said from Argentina.
The Puerto Rican-American Ruiz, living in Las Vegas, is the first and only Latino heavyweight champion of the world. He has fought in 10 world championship fights, defeating three world heavyweight champions — Evander Holyfield, Hasim Rahman and Tony Tucker – in addition to beating top contenders such as Andrew Golota, Fres Oquendo, Kirk Johnson and Jameel McCline during his 15-year pro career.
***Valuev to get world title fight***
Nikolai Valuev will fight John Ruiz for the vacant WBA heavyweight title before August 31. After Ruslan Chagaev pulled out of his mandatory defence against the Russian Giant for the second time in a row, the WBA decided in Buenos Aires on Thursday that the two ex-champions will face each other. “We wanted Nikolai Valuev to fight for the title as soon as possible,” Sauerland managing director Chris Meyer said. “We consider the WBA`s decision a big success.”
The representatives of both fighters will have until July 15 to find a solution as to who will stage the fight. Should they fail to reach an agreement, a purse bid will be called. “Of course it is our goal to stage this attractive fight in Germany,” Meyer stated.
It will be the second meeting of Valuev, the WBA`s top-ranked fighter, and John Ruiz (#2), who clashed in Berlin in December 2005. Back then, the Russian Giant clinched a close points victory to become the biggest and tallest boxing champion of all time.
After rupturing his Achilles tendon last week, Chagaev was forced to cancel the title fight against Valuev, which was due to go down on July 5. Since it is uncertain when he will be fit again, the WBA gave him a special status. After overcoming his injury, Chagaev, the “champion in recess”, will be given the chance to challenge the new, regular champion until June 26th, 2009. To do so, however, he needs to document his medical condition to the WBA.