Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Bloodied Chagaev beats Drumond in WBA title clash

Ruslan Chagaev clinched his version of the WBA heavyweight title on Saturday with a sixth-round technical decision win over Costa Rica’s Carl Davis Drumond after more than a year out of the ring.
Chagaev, deemed to be the WBA’s Champion-in-Recess, will now face Russia’s Nikolai Valuev, the Interim WBA champion, later this year to decide the undisputed champion.
In a bizarre finish, Saturday’s fight was stopped after the sixth round with Chagaev bleeding heavily from a cut over his left eye following an accidental clash of heads, but the Uzbeki was then awarded the fight.
On his comeback after rupturing his achilles tendon last June, he was awarded a technical decision by the judges who scored the fight 60-54, 58-56, 58-56.
It was Drumond’s first defeat in 27 fights and Chagaev’s 25th win to leave him unbeaten. “I am sorry about the way I won, it was a sad end to the fight,” said Chagaev. “That’s boxing and these things happen.”
Ring doctor Christoph Goetz said the fight needed to be stopped to prevent any further damage to Chagaev’s eye. “I fought like a warrior,” said the beaten Drumond. “I kept working and working and waiting for my chance. The doctor took the decision to step in and you have to accept that.” This was Chagaev’s first fight since he beat Britain’s Matt Skelton last January and the Uzbekistan fighter remains the only boxer to inflict a defeat on Russian giant Valuev in April 2007.
In his injury-enforced absence, Valuev became the Interim WBA champion by beating John Ruiz and then defended the title against Evander Holyfield.
Chagaev looked sharp at Rostock’s Stadthalle and produced a flurry of punches in both of the opening two rounds to unsettle his opponent. Drumond landed some heavy body shots when he briefly pinned Chagaev in the corner midway through the third round and the clash of heads, after an upper-cut, opened the cut over the left eye.
The bleeding could not be stemmed and in the fourth round, Chagaev’s face was covered in blood while Drumond was cautioned for another clash of heads.
At the start of the fifth, referee Gustavo Padilla questioned whether Chagaev should continue, the fight doctor Goetz said the eye was OK to box on, but Drumond launched into his opponent looking to aggravate the wound. Padilla ended the fight after the end of the sixth round and the judges handed Chagaev the fight.

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