After the cancellation of Saturday’s heavyweight title fight between WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev and Ruslan Chagaev, Wilfried Sauerland, Valuev’s manager, has rejected claims made by Universum Box-Promotion. “It is a fact that for several weeks prior to this fight inaccurate statements about Ruslan Chagaev’s health were given by Team Chagaev,” Sauerland said after leaving Helsinki. “In several of their documents Chagaev had been attested correct (blood level) values. In a conversation between Universum, the Finnish Boxing Federation and Sauerland Event on Thursday it was agreed that the fight would go ahead if the examinations in Finland confirmed the values of the German test. However, that was not the case. Furthermore, the submission of the tests ordered by the Finnish Boxing Federation were delayed until Friday after the weigh-in.”
Sauerland Event General Manager Chris Meyer also rejected claims that Helsinki had deliberately been chosen as the venue so that the fight could not be staged. “These claims are ridiculous,” he said. “A couple of months ago we had received a very good offer from our partners in Finland to stage this WBA heavyweight title fight. Without their guaranteed amount we could not have won the purse bid with that high amount.”
In a blood test in Helsinki’s University Hospital Chagaev tested positive for hepatitis. The report said the danger of infection was “low, but could not be totally excluded.”
Professor Walter Wagner, the medical superintendent of the Bund Deutscher Berufsboxer (BDB/German Boxing Federation), believes that the Finnish Federation did the right thing. After being quoted in several media publications as saying that the fight could have taken place in Germany, the highly-respected ring doctor added: “It is correct that the fight could have taken place in Germany. But there are no consistent regulations around the world. Given Chagaev’s blood levels the fight could most likely not have taken place in any other country outside Germany – definitely not in the US, England or Italy. The risk of an infection is close to zero but it is not zero. According to the regulations of the Institute of Medical Diagnostics Berlin (Instituts für medizinische Diagnostik Berlin) the Finnish results are equivalent to the German category ‘detectable in the lowest category.’ That means the risk is very low, but it exists. The Finns acted correctly according to their medical standards given this test result,” Wagner said.