Source: Dan Rafael
WBA heavyweight titlist Ruslan Chagaev has been forced to pull out of a July 5 rematch with the man he beat for the title, 7-footer Nikolai Valuev, as a result of a nasty injury suffered in training.
The 29-year old Chagaev (24-0-1, 17 KO) suffered a complete tear of his left Achilles tendon and is scheduled for surgery on Monday. It's the third time since he claimed the belt in April 2007 that Chagaev has had to pull out of a scheduled bout, and the second time a rematch with Valuev has been called off. Chagaev has fought just once since the win over the giant, beating England's Matt Skelton in January.
Valuev's co-promoter, Don King, had this to say:
"How many times is this dude going to pull out of a fight," King said. "He doesn't really want to fight the giant (Valuev) again. Valuev has trained for this fight twice. I want to see if the WBA will allow him to fight for the interim title immediately."
Frankly, King is right to demand an interim title fight for his guy. The injury is no joke; it's not like Chagaev can fight with a torn Achilles tendon, even though the prognosis is relatively positive. But this is the second time Chagaev has had to cancel. Valuev has earned his shot; he should get a shot.
The fight was to main event the July 5 show in Germany, but now the main event will be the WBA middleweight title rematch between Felix Sturm and Randy Griffin, who fought to a pretty exciting draw last year.