Valuev defeats Ruiz to clinch WBA heavyweight title


Nikolai Valuev is the new WBA heavyweight champion following a unanimous points victory over John Ruiz. The Russian Giant was ahead 116-111, 116-113 and 114-113 on the scorecards to regain the belt he already held from December 2005 to April 2007. “I am happy to be the champion again,” Valuev said. “The new training methods have paid off. I was much quicker than in the first meeting.”

Back then, at the same venue and against the same opponent, he had clinched a split decision, but this time, he cruised to a clear success. In the first seven or eight rounds we saw the best Nikolai ever,” manager Wilfried Sauerland stated. “He moved and used his left jab well before getting a little tired towards the end. Ruiz was a tough opponent but Nikolai beat him clearly.”



There was more holding and clinching in the second half of the fight, but Valuev kept firing in his long left jab and also connected with rights, while Ruiz tried to get inside to land the occasional punch. In
the eighth, the Russian Giant connected with a thunderous one-two combination that wobbled his opponent, but Ruiz, who has only been stopped once in his career, shook it off. “We knew it would be a tough fight,” Valuev coach Alexander Zimin said. “It was our goal not to fight Ruiz but to box him and Niko did just that. I am very pleased with his performance.”

The American failed to make significant impact in the final rounds as Valuev cruised to an uncontested victory. “I really have to thank Alexander,” he stated. “Thanks to his training, I have become quicker and more mobile. That was key to success tonight.” Ruiz left the ring disappointed. “I feel like I have won the fight,” he said. “I am very sad about the outcome but I want to thank the German fans and the German people for their support,” he added before abruptly leaving the press conference. “I hope to come back one day – for pleasure, not for business.” Don King believes there are big things ahead for the Russian Giant. “Nikolai is improving tremendously. He was great with his jab and the
one-two punches. I think he is going to be the world´s best fighter. He has a great trainer and keeps getting better. I am sure he will unify the titles.”




On a sidenote, there was a slight confusion after the fight when a split decision was announced. After reviewing the issue, the verdict was officially changed to a unanimous points victory. “I apologize for the mistake,” the WBA supervisor Robert Mack stated. “It was my fault.” Judge Takeshi Shimakawa had given the last round to Valuev but Mack had accidentally counted it for Ruiz. It was then officially changed to 114-113 for Valuev.

On the undercard, Francesco Pianeta clinched the vacant EU heavyweight title with a ninth-round TKO victory over Scott Gammer. Trailing on all scorecards, the Hammer retired after the eighth round due to a broken hand. Ulli Wegner praised his 23-year-old fighter for a “strong performance. “Francesco did very well,” the coach said. “He fought very cleverly against an experienced boxer. Even under pressure he kept a cool head.” Most of Gammer´s attacks landed on Pianeta´s strong defense, for the German to land good shots to body and head. “I stuck to the game plan and did not allow him to hit me very often,” Pianeta said. “That was a very good test for me.”

(Pictures: SE)

Leave a Comment

More Headlines