By Karl Freitag
In a bout for the vacant WBA “regular” heavyweight championship, former world champ and WBA #3 rated Ruslan Chagaev (33-2-1, 20 KOs) scored a twelve round majority decision over #4 rated Fres Oquendo (37-8, 24 KOs) on Sunday night in front of 30,000+ at the Akhmat Arena in Grozny, Chechen Republic, Russia.
35-year-old southpaw Chagaev pressed the action in round one but nothing meaningful landed by either fighter. Chagaev began to connect with a few shots in round two. Oquendo was more active with his jab in round three while Chagaev landed a good straight left. The 41-year-old “Big O” opened round four well, then little action after that. Chagaev upped the pressure in round five. Oquendo also landed a few shots. Mostly Chagaev’s round in round six, but Oquendo did back up Chagaev with some punches toward the end of the round. Chagaev was bleeding from a cut over the left eye in round seven and the sight of blood seemingly inspired Oquendo to work a little harder. After a slow-paced round eight, Chagaev outworked Oquendo in round nine. Round ten was another slow, tactical round with both fighters landing occasional shots. Oquendo outboxed the visibly fatigued Chagaev in round eleven. Fres clearly had more left in round twelve, but an all out assault just isn’t in Oquendo’s nature and he didn’t get the big finish he needed. Scores were 114-114, 115-113, 115-113.
With the win, Chagaev is now recognized by the WBA as world heavyweight champion along with Wladimir Klitschko, who holds a 2009 win over Chagaev.
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Former WBC cruiserweight champion Juan Carlos Gomez (55-3, 40 KOs) scored a fifth round TKO over previously unbeaten Goran Delic (24-1, 4 KOs). It was simply target practice for Gomez, who got win when the ring doctor suddenly pulled the plug midway through round five. Time was 1:32. Gomez claimed the vacant WBA International belt.