WBA president Gilberto Jesus Mendoza has been praised for trying to reduce the number of champions in each division. But boxing is unpredictable and that unpredictability has affected the heavyweight tournament Mr. Mendoza initiated in January.
WBA World heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (34-3-1 21 KOs), from Hamburg, Germany, by way of Andijan, Uzbekistan, was stripped of his title on Friday for failing “to comply with payment of applicable fees,” specifically $40,750 in sanctioning fees related to his 2014 fight with Fres Oquendo.
Chagaev was notified several times by the WBA to clarify the situation but received no response. Under the circumstances and in accordance with the WBA rules, the organization issued a resolution that in part read, “In light of Chagaev and his promoter’s failure to pay the full sanction fees due for the Chagaev-Oquendo bout after multiple demands and opportunities to do so, Chagaev’s recognition is hereby removed and he shall further be removed from the ratings. Neither Chagaev nor his promoter, Timur Dugazaev, may participate in or promote WBA sanctioned events.”
In his last fight, on March 5 in Grozny, Russia, Chagaev fought Lucas Browne in defense of his title. Browne shocked the world by scoring a come-from-behind 10th round TKO to become the new WBA World heavyweight champion.
But Browne failed a post-fight drug test and his victory over Chagaev was annulled, rewarding Chagaev the title he had just lost. A court-ordered rematch with Oquendo was set in motion, contingent on Chagaev and/or his promoter paying the outstanding fees owed to the WBA.
According to the recently published resolution, “The deadline for receiving said fees was July 14, 2016, and the WBA received no such payment. As a result, Chagaev and his promoter are in breach of WBA rules and subject to sanction, including, but not limited to, removal of recognition and authorization to participate in WBA sanctioned bouts.”
There is, however, a way out of the predicament, should Chagaev and his team come to their senses.
“Upon receipt of the past due fees, plus applicable interest, Chagaev and his promoter’s privileges may be reinstated, subject to conditions, and Chagaev may again be eligible to be rated.”
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.