Hall of Fame promoter Don King says the World Boxing Association must strip Ruslan Chagaev of any claim to its heavyweight championship after the Finnish Boxing Federation reviewed blood tests and refused to allow Chagaev to participate in Saturday’s match against the fighter he co-promotes, WBA champion Nikolai “Giant Russian” Valuev in Helsinki. “Unfortunately for Ruslan Chagaev, he has suffered from a number of different medical maladies that have prevented him from participating in matches since at least 2003,” King said. “Nobody was more familiar with his medical history than the boxer and his promoter, but they still refused to submit to multiple requests for blood tests from the Finnish Boxing Federation until late in the week before Saturday’s match. This was a risk they should not have taken. It resulted in the cancellation of a contest for the WBA heavyweight championship.”
“I wanted the WBA to strip Chagaev after the Achilles injury,” King continued. “The WBA said ‘let’s make him champion in recess’ and I saw that they were simply trying to do everything they could to help this man. It wasn’t my first choice, but I understood it.
“Now it is my job as co-promoter of Nikolai Valuev with my partners at Sauerland Event to point out that the WBA ruled Chagaev had until June 26 to face Valuev, and he did not accomplish this. The Finnish Boxing Federation rejected Chagaev for medical reasons, and the rules of the WBA clearly state that they recognize and respect the rules of the local governing authority wherever a match may take place—in this instance, Finland.”
King added, “I applaud the Finnish Commission for standing up for the health and welfare of the fighters. It goes beyond money; they chose health before wealth. I believe the WBA will do the right thing as well by announcing Nikolai Valuev as its undisputed heavyweight champion. I don’t believe the WBA will ignore the objective, empirical proof presented by the Finnish Boxing Federation.”