Chagaev Promises To Make Good on New Title Shot

From the depths of the Zaire jungle to a small town in Montana whose audacious hosting left it on the brink of bankruptcy, the world heavyweight title thought it had seen it all.

But the so-called 'richest prize in sport' will break new and controversial ground on Sunday when Ruslan Chagaev and Fres Oquendo fight for the WBA belt in the Chechen capital of Grozny.

The event is the brainchild of Chagaev's manager Timur Dugazaev and Chechnya's pro-Moscow president Ramzan Kadyrov, who himself claims to be a former keen amateur boxer.

"This will be the biggest boxing show in the world," insists Dugazaev, who will fly in Hall of Fame ring announcer Michael Buffer for the occasion and has swathed the city in 80-foot high posters of the combatants.

"I am pretty sure that even [Buffer] will say that he has never seen anything like it - despite his 30 years' experience and all the huge Klitschko shows he has worked on."

It is quite some accomplishment for a city devastated by two brutal wars in the 1990s and which was described by the United Nations in 2002 as "the most destroyed city on earth."

The credit for much of its dramatic regeneration is due to Kadyrov, who assumed the republic's presidency at the age of just 28 after his father and former president Akhmat Kadyrov was assassinated in 2004.

Kadyrov has pumped billions of dollars into rebuilding the city and Sunday's fight will take place at the three-year-old Akhmat Arena - named in honour of his father - where 30,000 fans are expected to be present.

But the revival has come at a big price for some. Respected human rights observers including Human Rights Watch and the Russian Memorial organisation continue to accuse Kadyrov and his acolytes of serious human rights violations.

For all the superstars expected to be flown into the city via private jet, there remains a distinct undercurrent of unease, not least when Kadyrov rounded off a publicity sparring session with Chagaev last week with the claim: "I may not be the best boxer in the world, but I know where you have to hit somebody."

And then there are the combatants. Even by the spurious standards of recent world heavyweight title history, the credentials of Chagaev and in particular Oquendo take very little beating.

Chagaev is a one-time top level fighter who became the first man to defeat Russian giant Nikolai Valuev in 2007 but was prevented by capitalising on his triumph due to illness and injury, and suffered a tired retirement defeat to Wladimir Klitschko two years later.

A subsequent loss to Alexander Povetkin has not stopped Chagaev benefiting from Klitschko's rise to unfathomable WBA 'super' champion status, which enables him to go into Sunday's showdown in Grozny with the 'regular' WBA belt back on the line.

He is unlikely to strain himself against Oquendo, the 41-year-old Puerto Rican who has had more than his fair share of top-level chances, losing consecutive title shots at Chris Byrd and John Ruiz in 2003 and 2004 respectively, and suffering back-to-back losses to Jean Marc Mormeck and the creaking Oliver McCall in 2010.

Not that questionable credentials are likely to rain on Kadyrov's parade, and Chagaev is certainly saying the right things to placate those who see Sunday's bout as a platform to project a new, improved version of Grozny back onto the world stage.

"It's no secret that I've had some ups and downs over the last few years, but I've had an excellent training camp and I have waited a long time for another title shot," said Chagaev.

"They just took the championship from me and now I am taking it back. I am sure I can show everybody I still have what it takes to be the heavyweight champion of the world."

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by ScottWeiland on 07-03-2014

[QUOTE=Dirk Diggler UK;14722495]It accurately describes you. First Fury ducked Pulev to fight Haye. Now Haye ducked Chagaev to fight Wladimir. Using the same logic, Wladimir ducked Chisora twice.[/QUOTE] Wlad was shook alright.I expect him to vacate all his belts should…

Comment by The Hammer on 07-03-2014

Chagaev says he'll fight Luis Ortiz if he gets past Oquendo. If Oquendo wins, he'll likely try to bypass Ortiz and fight Haye. Chagaev was a very good heavyweight. He beat a younger, better version of Nicolay Valuev by a…

Comment by Dirk Diggler UK on 07-03-2014

[QUOTE=Scott.Weiland;14722468]I was pointing out the fact he was desperate to avoid an actual challenge at the weight,as he knew he wouldn't beat either,so he went through the lengths to fabricate a lie. Scott is sounding a little jaded lately.I hope…

Comment by ScottWeiland on 07-03-2014

[QUOTE=joe strong;14722401]come on man you are smarter then that. chagaev couldn't get a licence outside Germany for a long time. most European commissions wouldn't sanction one of his fights because of the hep b thing. it is not a secret…

Comment by joe strong on 07-03-2014

[QUOTE=Dirk Diggler UK;14722439]Why would you defend a title against bum ass Chagaev when a much bigger unification fight against the world's best was on the table? Why are you continuing to make yourself look spasticated?[/QUOTE]your sig? I think I recall…

Post a Comment - View More User Comments (25)
Top Headlines Frampton Slams Quigg, Not Buying His Excuse For Missing Weight Golden Boy Matchmaker Reacts to 'Neno' Calling Out Ryan Garcia Kautondokwa is Ready For War on Namibian Independence Card Roach Impressed With Jose Ramirez, Wants to Improve Defense Lolenga Mock, Mogens Palle Part Ways Over Money Isaac Ekpo, Rafael Mensah Train With McKinley, Praise Don King Povetkin's Manager: Drug Tests in Order, No Worries For Price Alberto Melian Drills Countryman Julian Aristule in Two Rounds Felix Verdejo's Trainer Expects His Fighter To Return Stronger Michael Dutchover Continues Winning Run at Doubletree Joshua vs. Parker - Giuseppe Quartarone Confirmed as Referee Sadam Ali vs. Liam Smith Finalized For May 12, Turning Stone Anthony Crolla vs. Edson Ramirez Set For Joshua-Parker Card Photos: Whyte, Bowne - Get Very Heated on 'Gloves Are Off' News: Sven Fornling, Brian Ceballo, Nikolai Potapov, More Daniel Jacobs vs. Maciej Sulecki - Undercard Information Arthur Abraham: I'm Not Ready To Retire, I Want World Title Again Joseph Parker: I'm Going To Come in Light and Fast vs. Joshua Gvozdyk: Stevenson is 40 & Inactive; Not Sure He'll Beat Jack Liam Smith: Canelo Ruined Legacy, Look How His Body Changed! Weekend Review: Jose Ramirez Rises, Felix Verdejo Crumbles Zou Shiming: I Don't Have The Courage To Retire at The Moment Lucas Browne Maintains Innocence in Drug Testing Beefs Floyd Mayweather Says He Will Apply For MMA License Horn's Coach: Crawford Will Be in For a Big Shock in First Round! Berchelt To Make Another Voluntary Defense, Then Roman Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez: Positive or Negative? WBC Prez: I'm Not Protecting Canelo, But We Have To Be Fair! Arum Says ESPN Momentum Building, Big Plans Ahead in 2018 Danny O'Connor Gets Off The Floor, Decisions Steve Claggett Felix Verdejo Very Angry With Decision To Stop The Fight Video: Crawford's Coach Shreds Horn - Warns Spence, Thurman Kyril Relikh vs. Eduard Troyanovsky Showdown is Ordered Danny Roman vs. Moises Flores Must Happen By June, Says WBA Arum Wants Ramirez, Prograis to Take Interim Fights on Same Card Michael Conlan Hopes To Fight in Belfast on June Date Kovalev-Marcus Browne Deal Done for HBO Bout; Date Not Set Arum: Felix Verdejo Very Disappointing; It's a Lack of Discipline Felix Valera, Luis Lebron Grab Knockout Wins in Santo Domingo Sam Soliman, Wes Capper Fight To a Twelve Round Draw

Latest Active Forum Threads