One year ago Ruslan Chagaev won the WBA Regular Heavyweight Championship for the second time since 2007 by beating Fres Oquendo. At age 36, the "White Tyson" who is promoted by Akhmat Promotions and TEREK Box-Event, feels rejuvenated and is far from thinking about retirement.
"I am in great shape! I haven't felt this good in years - I feel like I'm in my mid-20s", says Chagaev who is currently preparing for his title defense against Francesco Pianeta on July 11th at GETEC Arena in Magedburg (Germany).
"I am looking forward to finally getting back into the ring. After almost a year break, I'm hungry and want to show my fans what I can do. I'm sorry for Francesco Pianeta that he's facing me precisely at this stage in my career. He doesn't stand a chance. He won't know what hit him."
There are multiple reasons why Chagaev hasn't returned to the ring since winning the WBA championship last July. Right after beating Oquendo in Grozny, the Uzbek native hooked up with German trainer legend Fritz Sdunek who passed away unexpectedly last December.
"I still can't believe that Fritz is no longer with us", states Chagaev. "His passing was a shock for the whole boxing world and especially for me and my whole team. It still hurts. We miss him a lot. But his spirit will be with us in the gym forever."
It took a while before Chagaev found a new trainer who he fully trusts. In the meantime he joined forces with former Cuban national coach Pedro Diaz who is also known as the "boxing professor". "Pedro is an extraordinary coach. He knows everything about this sport. Even at my age I learned some new tricks and moves from him."
The team was in training camp in Miami for eight weeks before returning to Germany for sparring to make sure that Chagaev will be at his best when he faces Pianeta. Sat.1 will broadcast the show on July 11th labeled as "Heavy Night" live in Germany. Tickets for the event in Magdeburg starting at 26,- Euros can be purchased online via www.tickethall.de or www.eventim.de.