LAS VEGAS (June 27, 2008) – Soon after it was announced that WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev had pulled out of his July 5 mandatory title defense against former WBA title-holder and No. 1 contender, Nikolai Valuev, due to another injury, John Ruiz, through his advisor and attorney, Tony Cardinale, contacted World Boxing Association officials demanding that, in accordance with WBA rules and regulations, the championship be vacated and negotiations ordered to begin for a title fight between Valuev and former 2-time world heavyweight champion, WBA No. 2-rated John “The Quietman” Ruiz (43-7-1, 29 KOs).
Chagaev, who won the WBA belt on April 4, 2007 by winning a 12-round majority decision against Valuev, hasn’t made a mandatory title defense (due by April 4, 2008) because of a series of injuries, fighting one voluntary defense (WDEC12 vs. Matt Skelton, Jan. 19, 2008).
“We know that the WBA will follow its rules and regulations,” Ruiz said. “It’s already well past the time he’s had to make a mandatory defense and the WBA heavyweight title belt is being held hostage. We don’t need a hostage negotiator to take politics out of the heavyweight division. The WBA just has to do the right thing to move forward and give boxing fans what they deserve. The heavyweight division has been at a standstill in the WBA and it should follow its rules and order the top two rated contenders to fight for the title.”
In its last correspondence to the WBA, Team Ruiz anticipated Chagev being physically unable to defend his title against Valuev and informed the WBA that it would demand that the WBA follow its regulations if Chagaev sought a second postponement of his mandatory title defense.
Team Ruiz’ demand is pursuant to the following WBA Championship Regulations:
5.- DEFENSE OF THE TITLE
5.1 WBA TITLE DEFENSE
5.1.12 If a World Champion recognized by the World Boxing Association fails to comply with his obligation to defend the title on the date indicated by the Regulations, or fails to comply with his obligation for a World Championship fight, duly approved by the World Championships Committee, or fails to comply with any rule of the World Boxing Association, the Committee shall recommend the President and the Directory of the Association that his title be declared vacant.
8.- PROCEDURE TO FOLLOW WHEN A TITLE IS DECLARED VACANT
8.1 A World Championship may be lost because a of breach of the contract for a World Championship fight, or because of inability to fight, or because the period given by the World Championships Committee is over, or by failure to comply with the required weight at the weighting time, according to what is established in article 12.1 of the Regulations that Govern the World Championship Matches, however a World Championship can only be obtained as a result of a fight duly authorized by the World Championships Committee.
8.2 In the event that a World Championship is declared vacant, the two (2) Official Contenders shall fight for the vacant title, and for this, they shall be granted a period of no more that THIRTY (30) days to negotiate an agreement under the best possible conditions, with a duly qualified promoter. If they fail to negotiate the agreement within the time indicated, the Director of the World Championships Committee shall call a Purse bid. The World Championships Committee can open the fight to Purse Bid before the period given is over, as long as the parties (Champion or Challenger) state his unwillingness to negotiate an agreement for a world title fight.
The Puerto Rican-American Ruiz 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.