Ruslan Chagaev

Ruslan Shamilevich Chagaev (Tatar: Руслан Шамил улы Чагаев; Uzbek: Ruslan Shamil'evich Chagaev; Russian: Руслан Шамилович Чагаев); born 19 October 1978) is a retired Uzbek professional boxer of Tatarian descent who competed from 2001 to 2016. He held the WBA heavyweight title twice, from 2007 to 2009 and from 2014 to 2016, and was the first Asian boxer to win a world heavyweight title by any of the four major sanctioning bodies. As of October 2021, BoxRec ranks Chagaev as the seventh greatest Asian fighter of all time, pound-for-pound.[1] He was ranked as the world's top 10 heavyweight by BoxRec from 2004 to 2013, reaching his career-high ranking of No.3 in 2005, 2006 and 2007, and as the top 10 heavyweight or contender by The Ring at the conclusion of each year between 2006 and 2015.[2][3][4]

Ruslan Chagaev
Руслан Чагаев
Chagaev in 2007
Real nameRuslan Shamilevich Chagaev
Nickname(s)White Tyson
Height1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)
Reach188 cm (74 in)
Born (1978-10-19) 19 October 1978 (age 43)
Andijan, Uzbek SSR, Soviet Union (now Uzbekistan)
Boxing record
Total fights38
Wins by KO21
Medal record

Chagaev is one of a few professional boxers to resume his amateur career after a few professional bouts in 1997. Chagaev was reinstated as an amateur by AIBA the following year as his professional bouts were declared exhibitions.

In 2007, Chagaev defeated then-unbeaten Nikolai Valuev to win his first WBA heavyweight title, and would make two successful defences. Due to injuries and being unable to grant Valuev a rematch in 2009, the WBA stripped Chagaev of the title. He went on to suffer his first professional loss in the same year to unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko.

Chagaev won the WBA (Regular) heavyweight title by defeating Fres Oquendo in 2014. He made one successful defence, then lost the title to Lucas Browne in 2016. However, after Browne failed a drug test, the WBA reinstated Chagaev as champion, but he was once again stripped of the title in July after failing to pay sanctioning fees. On 28 July 2016 he announced his retirement from boxing due to ongoing eye injuries.[5]

As an amateur, Chagaev won gold medals at the 2001 World Championships and 1999 Asian Championships, in the heavyweight and super-heavyweight divisions respectively.

Amateur careerEdit

Chagaev won gold at the 1997 World Amateur Boxing Championships heavyweight, defeating Félix Savón in the finals, but later he was stripped of the championship for having 2 professional bouts in the United States before the tournament. Chagaev is the only non-Cuban boxer to defeat Félix Savón twice, and the only one to do it at the world championships, which Savón have won consecutively. Savón suffered his first international defeat in more than a decade, when he met Chagaev for a first time.[6] His amateur career is also merited with absence of stoppages on his part, with all four his losses were standing defeats with him being outpointed. Because of his performance at the 2001 World Amateur Boxing Championships, where Chagaev stopped every opponent he had faced – a rarity in amateur boxing competitions, – Chagaev received the nickname "White Tyson".[7]


Chagaev had a few professional bouts while competing as an amateur. He finished his amateur career having a total of 85 fights under his belt, with a record of 81 wins, 4 losses (no stoppages.)

Professional careerEdit

1997–2005: Early careerEdit

Ruslan Chagaev (center) inside the ring with his coach Michael Timm (right) challenging Rob Calloway (left). 7 January 2006).

Chagaev made his professional debut on 21 August 1997, defeating Donnie Penelton by first-round knockout. After defeating Brian Jones three weeks later by second-round KO, Chagaev returned to amateur boxing. He returned to professional boxing in 2001, beating an experienced journeyman Everett Martin on 21 September by fourth-round technical knockout, in what was Chagaev's first and only professional fight in his native Uzbekistan. It was around that time when Chagaev underwhent surgery to fix the detachment of the retina in his left eye.[7]

In his next bout, Chagaev faced journeyman Val Smith (10–16, 9 KOs) on 14 April, 2002 at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The bout was part of the event that was aired on USA FOX, meaning this was Chagaev's first televised professional boxing match. Chagaev made a quick work of Smith, dropping him three times in the first round, with Smith not being able to beat the count after the third knockdown.[8][9][10] 27 days later, Chagaev faced his next opponent Chris Isaac (6–3, 6 KOs). The fight was on the undercard of the event televised by Showtime. Chagaev knocked Isaac down in the third round but was unable to finish his opponent, ultimately winning the bout by a lopsided unanimous decision with scores 80–71 and 79–72 (twice).[11][12]

After two back-to-back wins against Val Smith and Chris Isaac, Chagaev, with a 5–0 (4 KOs) record, faced Rob Calloway, who had a record of 42–4 (32 KOs) going into the bout and had never been stopped up to that date.[13] Chagaev appeared to have won the first two rounds and was seemingly going for an early stoppage, but at the end of the third round, the fight was stopped due to Calloway having a wound caused by a headbutt. Michigan boxing rule mandated that the fight be called a Technical Draw (TD) since the bout ended by an accidental foul.[14][15]

In his next fight, Chagaev faced undefeated Zakeem Graham (9–0–1, 7 KOs) in what turned out to be his last professional fight in the United States.[16] The fight was aired on Showtime as part of the ShoBox: The New Generation boxing program.[17][18] Graham was active in the first half of each round but Chagaev was blocking most of the shots with arms and gloves. With one minute left in the opening round, Chagaev hurt Graham with a left hook, breaking his nose in the process. Chagaev staggered Graham again at the end of the following round, and then again in the third, with the referee stopping the bout after Graham could not respond to a barrage of shots that followed. Chagaev won by third-round TKO.[17][19]

Aftewards Chagaev signed with Universum Box-Promotion and relocated to Germany, mostly having fights scheduled there and in Austria. Chagaev admitted that his decision to sign the contract with German promoters was caused by the fact that in the United States he had only had four fights in two years and his career there hadn't had any clear direction.[7] Chagaev returned to the ring on 18 November, facing Daniel Frank. Frank had a 12–5–1 record coming into the bout, scoring all his wins inside the distance, including a fourth-round TKO against Adilson Rodrigues (77–6–1, 61 KOs), and was 2–4 in his last six bouts, losing to long-reigning WBC cruiserweight champion Juan Carlos Gomez, Friday Ahunanya and Samuel Peter.[20][21][22] The bout was placed on the undercard of the event that saw Stipe Drews facing Olivier Beard for the European light heavyweight title and was televised by Eurosport. Chagaev knocked Frank out in the second round.[23]

In his first bout of 2004, Chagaev faced Sedreck Fields in a bout scheduled for six rounds. Like previously, the bout took place on the card aired on Eurosport. Each of the four main-event fights had at least one boxer from a post-Soviet country - him and Muhammadqodir Abdullaev were from Uzbekistan while heavyweight Taras Bidenko and bantamweight Volodymyr Sydorenko were from Ukraine.[24] Sedreck had a record of 20–21–1, 14 KOs coming into the bout and had only been stopped by Lawrence Clay-Bey, Robert Davis and Oleg Maskaev in his professional career up to that date. Fields was mostly known for his victories over Shannon Briggs, former IBF world cruiserweight champion Al Cole and Finnish prospect Sami Elovaara and facing numerous boxers from Russia and Belarus. The fight was expected to be a tough challenge for Chagaev who had only 10 professional fights on his record coming into the bout.[25] Chagaev won the bout by unanimous decision. The judges scored the bout 59–55 (twice) and 58–56.[26][27]

After scoring two knockouts against Alexey Varakin and Wade Lewis inside two rounds each, Chagaev had a rematch with Sedreck Fields four months after their first encounter. The bout was scheduled for eight rounds and took place at Sportzentrum in Telfs, Austria. This was Chagaev's fifth fight in a row aired on Eurosport. The first round was tentative, with Chagaev finding most success with counter shots primarily to the body. Chagaev continued fighting in a counterpunching manner in the second round, ultimately dropping Fields with a left hook behind the ear and throwing off his equilibrium. Fields got up but Chagaev continued his assault, hurting Fields on several occasions and dropping him again with 27 seconds left. Fields barely beat the count, prompting the referee to stop the fight after Fields started running towards Chagaev and did not react to his instructions.[28][29]

One month later, Chagaev faced Garing Lane in a bout scheduled for eight rounds. The bout took place on the undercard of Luan Krasniqi vs. Rene Monse and was televised by ZDF, one of Germany's leading television networks.[30][31] For the fight Lane weighed in at a career high 318.5 pounds, reaching the 300 lb mark for the first time in his professional career.[32] Chagaev dominated every round before ultimately stopping Lane with two left hooks to the body in the fifth.[33] Chagaev finished 2004 with three stoppage wins over Willie Williams (16–8, 11 KOs),[34] Asmir Vojnovic (22–5–1, 12 KOs)[35][36] and Tommy Connelly (12–3, 10 KOs).[37][38] Each of those fights was aired on Eurosport and finished within four rounds.[39][40][41]

From 2005, Chagaev's fights were placed on cards televised by ZDF. Chagaev started 2005 with a fight against Sherman Williams on 26 March at Erdgas Arena. The fight was scheduled for eight rounds. Williams had a record of 25–9–2, 15 KOs coming into the bout, most notably beating Samson Po'uha (20–4–1, 18 KOs) and Al Cole, and had only been stopped once in his professional boxing career. Chagaev won by unanimous decision, with scores 80–72, 79–73 and 78–74.[42][43][44] Shortly after, because of the events that took place in his native Andijan, Chagaev took a break from boxing to return to Uzbekistan and look after his family.[45]

Chagaev returned to the ring six months later on September 28, 2005 to face Jucimar Francisco Hipolito (10–3, 3 KOs) as part of the card dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of former world heavyweight champion Max Schmeling, with the main event of the night being the WBO world heavyweight title fight between Luan Krasniqi and Lamon Brewster.[46] The fight card had seven boxers from the former Soviet Bloc scheduled to fight - Chagaev, Alexander Dimitrenko, Denis Boytsov, Taras Bidenko, Valeriy Chechenev, Bagrat Ohanyan and Alexei Mazikin, with the latter being forced to pull out due to injury. Despite coming in at 236 lbs, the heaviest in his professional career and nine pounds heavier than in his previous bout, Chagaev made a quick work of Hipolito, dropping him twice in the first round before Hipolito's corner threw in the towel.[46][47][48][49] Three weeks later, Chagaev took on Mark Krence (21–4, 6 KOs), dropping him twice in fourth and once in fifth before the bout was stopped, with Chagaev being declared the winner by 5th-round KO. With a record of 18–0–1, 15 KOs, Chagaev was ranked No.8 by the WBO and No.14 by the WBA.[50][51]

At the beginning of 2006, Chagaev agreed for a rematch against Rob Calloway as a late-minute replacement for Alexander Dimitrenko who had to withdraw due to shoulder injury. The fight took place at Kulturhalle in Munich. Going into the bout, Calloway boosted his record to 55–6–1, 43 KOs. The first round was action-packed, with Chagaev fighting mostly in a counterpunching manner. Thirty seconds into the first round, as Calloway attempted to close distance, Chagaev hurt him with a left hook followed by a straight right hand, forcing Calloway to stumble across the ring. Chagaev hurt Calloway a few more times as the round progressed, throwing him out of position on several occasions. Chagaev continued dominating in the second round. With one minute left, Chagaev countered a jab with a left cross that stunned Calloway, then followed up with another left hand that sent Calloway to the floor. Calloway was able to get up but was unsteady on his feet, prompting the referee to stop the fight and declare Chagaev the winner by second-round knockout.[52][53][54][55] As of January 2006, Chagaev was ranked No.7 contender by the WBO and No.14 by the WBA.[56][57]

2006: Title contenderEdit

Two months after his rematch with Calloway, Chagaev stepped in to face undefeated Ukrainian prospect and former stablemate of his Vladimir Virchis for the WBO and WBA Inter-Continental titles. Coming into the bout, Virchis had a record of 20–0 with 17 KOs but was coming off of a controversial win over Michael Sprott (27–8, 15 KOs).[58][59][60] He was ranked No.14 contender by the WBA and No.8 by the WBO, right behind Chagaev in each ranking.[61][62] Both Chagaev and Virchis were regarded as heavy punchers and the bout was not expected to go the distance.[58][63][64] Columnist Troy Ondrizek criticized the US media for not giving enough attention to the matchup: "In just five days a mega-fight between Ruslan Chagaev of Uzbekistan and Vladimir Virchis of Ukraine; will square off in what quite possibly be the best heavyweight fight this year. I am almost insulted to see so little press in regards to this fight. [...] The winner will be set up quite nicely for a title shot in the near future, and definite fame everywhere but the English speaking world. [...] I for one would rather see this explosive affair, than a possibly boring twelve round fat man dance between Hasim Rahman and James Toney."[65] In the build-up to the fight, Chagaev's trainer Artur Grigorian said: "This bout has only one possible outcome in my eyes, and that's Chagaev winning. He is a better boxer, he has better technique. He is stronger physically. Of course he should be vary of Vladimir's power but Ruslan is a warrior. In training, he works hard, like an ox. He always gives it all during training, whether his coach watches him or not. You give Ruslan a task and he will overfulfill it by 100%. [...] Chagaev has a big future in my eyes. In Uzbekistan he has already reached Muhammad Ali's level of popularity. From the moment he won the Amateur World Boxing Championships, he has eventually become recognized by everyone in this country". Several members of the Universum Box Promotion came out with the statement that the winner would be lined up for a world heavyweight title shot. The bout took place on the undercard of Felix Sturm vs. Maselino Masoe and was televised by ZDF.[66][67]

The bout went full twelve rounds, with Chagaev eventually winning a close decision. One judge had the bout 114–114 even, the second judge had Chagaev winning by one point (115–114), while the third one had Chagaev winning 116–112, giving him eight rounds.[60][63] According to Compubox, Chagaev connected on 100 punches out of 412 (24.3% accuracy) while Virchis landed 104 out of 734 (14.2%). Chagaev outlanded Virchis in rounds 1, 4, 7, 8 and 11; Virchis landed more shots in rounds 2, 3, 5, 10 and 12; rounds 6 and 9 were even. Overall, there were 1,146 punches thrown.[68] "Do I remember the fight? I remember that the crowd booed the decision. That's the biggest thank you for my performance. I'm confident I didn't lose that bout", Virchis said about the fight during the build-up to Chagaev's showdown with Wladimir Klitschko.[69] After the win, Chagaev improved his position in both WBA and WBO rankings, going up to No.5 and No.6 respectively, and entered the IBF rankings at No.13.[70][71][72] By April, Chagaev was ranked No.6 heavyweight in the world by The Ring.[73]

Four months after defeating Virchis, Chagaev faced Michael Sprott (28–9, 15 KOs). Chagaev dominated the fight before ultimately stopping Sprott in the eighth round, defending his WBA Inter-Continental title and winning WBO's vacant Asia Pacific title.[74] As of July 2006, Chagaev was ranked No.2 contender by the WBA, No.4 by the WBO and No.16 by the IBF.[75][76][77]

Being ranked No.2 by the WBA, Chagaev reached agreements to face the former WBA champion and the organization's then-No.1 contender John Ruiz (41–6–1, 28 KOs) in a title eliminator. Originally the fight was supposed to take place on 28 October in Stuttgart, however the fight's date was postponed to 18 November and the location was changed to Dusseldorf after Ruiz and his team filed a complaint, pointing out that Universum Box-Promotion could not schedule a fight within 45 days from the day of winning the fight's auction.[78] Known for defeating Evander Holyfield, Hasim Rahman and unbeaten Kirk Johnson (32–0–1, 23 KOs),[79][80] Ruiz was coming off of a razor-thin decision loss of his WBA world heavyweight title to Nikolai Valuev, in a fight Ruiz believed he had done enough to be declared the winner: "It was an unfair decision. He [Valuev] holds something that belongs to me. With a convincing victory over Ruslan Chagaev, I'll be able to fight Valuev [again] and get my belt back. I'm the best heavyweight in the world right now."[81] Coming into the bout, Ruiz changed his head coach from Norman Stone to Manny Siaca Sr.: "I'm learning new things from Manny. I'm gradually moving into a new mode. [...] I feel really good knowing that when I step in the ring I am bringing a different set of skills and a better mindset. Now I'm working with Manny to get away from being the old me. [...] We're working on a new training method where I am now throwing punches and moving, not holding and waiting. But what's really important, is that instead of talking about being the new me, I'm going to show everybody on November 18.". Siaca praised Ruiz and claimed that Ruiz made improvements while in training camp: "John's always had a good jab, but now he's throwing - bam, bam - four jabs and moving instead of throwing a jab and grabbing. He's throwing punches in combinations. [...] In the fight, John needs to move and throw. We'll be ready for him. I really enjoy working with John. He's a very decent and honorable guy who works hard. Johnny Ruiz will become the world heavyweight champion again. I'd bet my life on it."[82]

From the opening bell, both boxers fought at a high pace, with Chagaev attempting to bob and weave while Ruiz tried to come forward, work behind the jab and clinch when in close range. From the third round, Chagaev started dictating the action, moving in and out of range, hurting Ruiz and throwing him out of position several times and successfully deflecting Ruiz's attempts to tie him up and smother in a clinch. Going into the championship rounds, Ruiz was finally finding some success as Chagaev seemingly slowed down, however Chagaev had the upper hand in the second half of the eleventh and in the twelfth round, raising his arms in celebration after the bell rang. Ultimately Chagaev took a split decision with scores of 117–111 and 116–112 in his favor, and 115–114 for Ruiz.[83][84][85] "I had many difficult fights in my career, but Ruiz was probably my most difficult win. The difficulty came from the fact that it was a title eliminator. The American had a lot more experience than I had, and that gave him a major psychological advantage", Chagaev later said about the fight.[7] Chagaev became the mandatory challenger for a shot at Nikolai Valuev, the WBA heavyweight champion at the time. Valuev was sat ringside and believed Chagaev was the rightful winner.[86][87] At the conclusion of 2006, Chagaev was ranked No.9 heavyweight in the world by The Ring; Nikolai Valuev was ranked 8th; John Ruiz was ranked 10th.[88]

2007–2009: WBA heavyweight championEdit

Chagaev vs. ValuevEdit

The fight between Chagaev and WBA titlist Valuev took place on 14 April 2007 at the Porsche-Arena in Stuttgart, Germany. Chagaev won the fight and WBA title via a majority decision (117–111, 115–113 and 114–114). Many ringside had the fight close and some calling it controversial, while other believed the decision was too generous towards Valuev.[7][89] With the win, Chagaev became the first Asian to win a world heavyweight title.

Later in an interview, Chagaev described his arrival to Uzbekistan after winning the title: "I was welcomed as a national hero. When I was a kid I saw Soviet films about how astronauts were welcomed in Moscow but who would've thought I would receive similar treatment one day in my home? At the ladder of a plane that brought us to Tashkent, a red carpet was laid down. The amount of people that were at the airport was crazy. I was put in the government's cabriolet and taken to the presidential residence. Along the road there were dozens of people that formed a corridor and were chanting my name. All this time, to be honest, I was in some kind of numbness, because I never expected something like this, especially since it was 11 p.m. The Prime Minister, the Mayor of Tashkent, the Minister of Sports, and many other government officials came to the residence for a gala dinner in honor of my victory. The next day I was accepted by the President Islam Karimov. He awarded me with the Order of Outstanding Merit, my promoter Klaus-Peter Kohl received the Jasorat (Bravery) Medal, my manager Taimaz Niyazov received the Shuhrat (Glory) Medal. Then we all laid flowers at the Monument to the Independence​ and Humanism, met with children from sports schools, and in the evening a grandiose concert was held at the stadium of the National Bank of Uzbekistan. I was also given keys from Daewoo Lacetti, these are produced at a join Uzbek-Korean factory in Andijan. [...] I couldn't even get to my house because I was taken straight to the residence from the airport. They explained that if they took me home, people would simply tear me to pieces: there were too many people who wanted to congratulate me on my victory."[90] When being asked about his future plans, Chagaev stated: "My second son is going to be born in August. It will give me a motivational boost. I want to become the undisputed heavyweight champion. Wladimir Klitschko is yet to answer my callout. Hopefully I'll be able to achieve my dream."[91]

Chagaev vs. SkeltonEdit

Shortly after winning the title, Chagaev signed the contract to face then-WBA world heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov in a unification showdown that would take place in Moscow on 13 October 2007. When talking about negotiations, president of Seminole Warriors Boxing promotion company Leon Margules described them as "the easiest negotiations of his career", praising both Ibragimov and Chagaev for being straightforward during the negotiation process. He also predicted the winner of this fight to eventually become the undisputed heavyweight champion.[92][93] It was going to be the first heavyweight unification fight since 1999 and the third boxing event considered major for Moscow since WBC world heavyweight champion Oleg Maskaev defended his title against Okello Peter and heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin faced fringe contender Larry Donald.[94][95] On 31 July 2007, it was officially announced that the unification showdown was cancelled due to Chagaev suffering from an aggravation of gastric problems.[96] Instead, former undisputed heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield agreed to step in as a last-minute replacement.[97] It was later discovered that Chagaev had contracted hepatitis B.[98] At that point, it was not clear whether he would have been able to compete at all, with WBA considering a championship tournament for Chagaev's crown.[99] After Ibragimov defended his crown against Holyfield, however, it was announced that Chagaev was able to recover.

Chagaev made his first official defence against Commonwealth heavyweight champion Matt Skelton (21–1, 18 KOs) on 19 January 2008 at the Burg-Waechter Castello in Düsseldorf. Skelton's promoter Frank Warren initially wanted the fight to take place in February or March, but Chagaev insisted an earlier date. In regards to fighting Skelton, Chagaev said, "I am completely healthy and I am ready to fight, I want to get in the ring. It will be a hard fight against a good puncher."[100] The fight was marred with a series of illegal tactics initiated by Skelton, many of them resembling techniques used in Muay Thai and kickboxing matches.[101] Chagaev retained his WBA title via unanimous decision, with the judges scoring the fight 117–110, 117–111 and 117–111 in Chagaev's favour.[102][103]

His next mandatory defense was to be a rematch on 5 July 2008 with Nikolai Valuev, who defeated former WBO champion Sergei Liakhovich by unanimous decision to earn the right. However, the fight had to be cancelled after Chagaev suffered a complete tear of an Achilles tendon during his final sparring session in preparation for the defense, causing Chagaev's second postponement of the match. The WBA elected to make Chagaev "Champion in Recess" due to the injury that Chagaev sustained and necessary recovery time and mandated that top-contenders Valuev and John Ruiz meet for the vacated title. By beating Ruiz, Valuev also became champion on 30 August 2008.[104]

Chagaev vs. DrumondEdit

Chagaev returned from injury on 7 February 2009 to fight the then-unbeaten Costa Rican Carl Davis Drumond. For the fight, Chagaev was not listed as WBA champion, but rather the "Champion in Recess". The fight took place at the StadtHalle in Rostock. Chagaev sustained a cut from an unintentional clash of heads in the third round. The fight ended after round 6, with Chagaev winning the fight via technical decision. Chagaev was taken to hospital after the fight for treatment. Judge Jean-Louis Legland had Chagaev ahead 60–54, whilst judges Hector Afu and Paul Thomas had Chagaev ahead 58–56.[105]

Chagaev and Valuev were supposed to fight no later than 26 June 2009 to determine who the WBA regarded as their champion.[106] They were scheduled to fight on 30 May 2009 in Helsinki, Finland at the Hartwall Arena, but Chagaev failed a Finnish medical test, allegedly due to hepatitis.

Chagaev vs. KlitschkoEdit

Unified world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko was scheduled to face David Haye on 20 June 2009, but Haye pulled out within weeks of the fight complaining of a back injury.[107] Chagaev agreed to step in for Haye as a last-minute replacement.[108][109][110] The winner would take the vacant Ring magazine heavyweight title in the battle between their number 1 ranked heavyweight, Klitschko, and third ranked Chagaev. Klitschko was defending his IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight titles. Chagaev's WBA champion in recess title was not on the line.[111][112] The Ring's pre-fight comparison gave Chagaev the edge on defense, praising him for his fundamentals and footwork, and thought he had a stronger chin. It gave Klitschko the advantage in power, speed, athletic ability and experience.[113]

The fight took place at Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen. With over 61,000 fans attending the fight it was the largest audience for a boxing match in Germany since 1939, when Max Schmeling knocked out Adolf Heuser in front of 70,000 people in Stuttgart.[114][115] Klitschko dominated the fight, keeping Chagaev at the end of his jab and throwing straight right hand whenever necessary. Klitschko dropped Chagaev near the end of the second round, and was gradually fighting more aggressively as the fight progressed. Chagaev's trainer Michael Timm did not allow Chagaev to come out for the tenth round, prompting the referee to wave the bout off, declaring Klitschko the winner by corner retirement (RTD).[116][117] On 24 July 2009, when the WBA published their Official Ratings as of June 2009, Chagaev was no longer the "Champion in Recess" but the No. 1 challenger instead.

2010–11: Regaining composureEdit

Chagaev fought Kali Meehan (35–3, 29 KO) on 22 May 2010, in a WBA heavyweight title eliminator at the Stadthalle in Rostock, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany.[118] Chagaev won the bout by unanimous decision with the scores of 117–111, 117–112 and 118–110.[119][120] Six months later in a stay-busy fight, he defeated Travis Walker via unanimous decision in an eight-round fight which turned into a slugfest.[121][122]

Chagaev vs. PovetkinEdit

After Wladimir Klitschko unified his WBO and IBF titles with David Haye's WBA title, Klitschko was upgraded to "Super Champion" by the WBA, thus making the "Regular Champion" title vacant.[123] On 6 July 2011 negotiations for Chagaev to fight Russian heavyweight contender Alexander Povetkin (21–0, 15 KOs) for the vacant title began between Sauerland, who promote Povetkin, and Chagaev's promoter Universum.[124] Two days later, Povetkin's trainer confirmed the fight would take place on 27 August.[125] At the time of the bout, Chagaev was ranked No.4 heavyweight contender by The Ring, while Povetkin was ranked No.3 contender by the same publication.[126] There were concerns about Chagaev's health state, due to him being diagnosed with hepatitis B and the possibility of him infecting Povetkin. Chagaev, however, insisted that the medical examination had confirmed that his opponents (Povetkin included) weren't in danger of being infected.[127] Most observers expected the fight to be close, giving Chagaev an advantage in experience, while also giving Povetkin the edge in youth and athletic ability. Both fighters were given an even chance to win.[128][129]

Both fighters were active from the opening bell, with Povetkin appearing to have the upper hand in the first half of the fight, frequently closing the distance and working Chagaev's body, while blocking most Chagaev's shots with arms and gloves. Povetkin staggered Chagaev with an uppercut in the third round. Chagaev regained composure in the middle rounds, hurting tired Povetkin several times with clubbing left hooks. Povetkin withstood Chagaev's attacks and re-established his pressure going into the championship rounds, while Chagaev appeared to be saving energy for the last rounds. The twelfth round saw both fighters trading shots.[130][131] The bout went full twelve rounds, with Povetkin being declared the winner by unanimous decision. The scores were 116–112 (twice) and 117–113, all in favor of Povetkin.[132][133] According to CompuBox, Povetkin landed 152 punches out of 533 thrown (28.5%) with 112 landed power shots (39.6%), while Chagaev landed 72 punches out of 416 thrown (17.1%) with 62 power punches (35.2%).[134]

2012–16: WBA Regular championEdit

After the Povetkin bout, Chagaev went 5–0 (3 KO), defeating world ranked Jovo Pudar & four journeymen with respectable records.[135]

On 15 June 2013, at a press conference in Sofia, Bulgaria, European heavyweight champion Kubrat Pulev (17–0, 9 KOs) stated his plans to fight Chagaev next although details had not been discussed.[136] Towards the end of the month, Chagaev spoke out denying any rumours that he was interested in a fight with Pulev. He instead stated that he was closing in on a deal to fight undefeated Cuban Luis Otiz (19–0, 16 KOs) in the fall of 2013.[137]

Chagaev vs. OquendoEdit

In May 2014, talks began for a fight between Chagaev and former world title challenger Fres Oquendo (37–7, 24 KOs) for the vacant WBA "regular" heavyweight title in June. Oquendo climbed the WBA rankings further after stopping Galen Brown (41–27–1, 24 KOs) in two rounds earlier in the month.[138] Oquendo pulled out in July due to passport issues and was on the verge of being replaced by German boxer Alexander Petkovic (49–4–4, 27 KOs), however Oquendo managed to board a plane, confirming the bout was still on.[139] The fight took place on 6 July at the Ahmat Arena in Grozny. Chagaev claimed the vacant title via majority decision after 12 rounds in a tough battle. Judge Guillermo Perez Pineda scored the fight 114–114, whilst judges Gustavo Jarquin and Alexis Marin both scored it 115–113 in favour of Chagaev, giving him the win. Chagaev controlled most of the fight with his constant jab and later in the fight started connecting with body shots.[140][141] A few days after the fight, the WBA ordered Chagaev vs. Ortiz. Both camps had 30 days to negotiate a deal.[142]

In November 2014, Oquendo spoke out about not receiving his guaranteed purse of $1 million and an immediate rematch within 120 days if he lost. His promoters Hitz Boxing and Square Ring Promotions, who were guaranteed an additional $100,000 were also reportedly not paid. Bobby Hitz of Hitz Boxing stated that they would file a lawsuit.[143] In the same month, RUSADA released information from a mandatory drug test that was taken after the fight which stated that Oquendo had tested positive for tamoxifen and anastrozole. According to the fight contract, this meant Oquendo would need to pay back his purse.[144] In December, a $5 million lawsuit was filed by Oquendo against promoter Terek Box Event seeking damages caused by the agreement to the Federal Court in Manhattan. In a statement, Oquendo said, “I am really looking forward to my day in court and finally getting justice. These guys pulled a really slick move and tricked me into fighting on July 6 by promising me to increase my purse to $1 million and giving me a rematch at a time when I wasn't mentally right, with my wife and newborn baby being sick and in the hospital. Well, now they are the ones behind the eight ball. They’ve got until January 2 to respond to the lawsuit.”[145] In April 2015, the judges issued an injunction.[146]

Chagaev vs. PianetaEdit

In May 2015, it was announced that Chagaev would make his first title defense against long time contender WBA #13 Francesco Pianeta (31–1, 17 KOs) on 11 July at the GETEC Arena in Magdeburg, Germany. Pianeta's only loss came in 2013 to Wladimir Klitschko via stoppage.[147][148] World of Boxing president Andrey Ryabinsky helped settle the issue between Chagaev and Oquendo. With the legal battle finished, it was said that Oquendo would fight the winner of Chagaev vs. Pianeta.[149] Chagaev won the fight via 1st-round TKO. Pianeta was dropped with two lefts but beat the 10 count. He was then dropped again following two more lefts. Referee Jean-Louis Legland stopped the fight 3 seconds before the round was due to end.[150][151][152][153]

Chagaev and Oquendo were scheduled to have their rematch on 17 October at the Sparkassen Arena in Kiel, Germany. On 6 October, Oquendo pulled out of the fight citing illness.[154]

Chagaev vs. BrowneEdit

On 14 November 2015, the WBA ordered Chagaev to reach a deal to make a defence of his WBA title against Australian heavyweight contender Lucas Browne. The two sides had until 30 November to reach a deal.[155] Chagaev's promoter Timur Dugazaev announced the fight would likely take place in Grozny in March 2016.[156] In the January 2016, the fight was officially announced to take place on 5 March.[157] Browne won the fight by stopping Chagaev in the tenth round. Browne landed nearly 20 unanswered punches, mostly right hands, before referee Stanley Christodoulou stopped the fight at 2 minutes, 27 seconds. Browne was knocked down in the sixth round and at the time of the knockout, behind on all judges scorecards (81–88, 82–88 twice).[158][159]

It was reported on 22 March that Browne failed his post-fight drug test and was then stripped of the belt and will likely have the result changed to a no-decision.[160][161]

On 28 July, it was reported that Chagaev had been stripped of his WBA 'Regular' title for failure to pay outstanding sanctioning fees. According to WBA, Chagaev and promoter Timur Dugazaev have repeatedly failed to pay $40,750 in sanctioning fees related to Chagaev's majority decision victory against Fres Oquendo. The WBA said it sought payment multiple times and had no choice but to vacate the title when there was no response.[162]


It was announced on 28 July 2016 by manager Timur Dugashev that Chagaev announced his retirement from boxing at the age of 37 due to problems with his eyes. Dugashev stated: "Ruslan informed us that he would no longer fight. The reason is the state of his eyes. Health is the most important thing."[163] According to Chagaev's wife, however, Chagaev decided to retire because he was no longer motivated to step in the ring and that his fight with Browne was going to be his last no matter the outcome.[7]

There was reports in October 2016 that Chagaev was offered a farewell fight to close his career, potentially a rematch with Lucas Browne. Chagaev chose to stay retired due to health issues.[164]

Personal lifeEdit

Chagaev is of Volga Tatar ethnicity and an adherent of Islam.[165][166] His parents, Shamil and Zamira Chagaev, are Mishar Tatars from the village of Kalda[165] (located in today's Baryshsky District of Ulyanovsk Oblast, Russia), who moved to the Uzbek SSR in the 1950s.[165] Chagaev has a sister, Luiza.[165] He is married to Viktoria, an ethnic Armenian,[167] who is also from Andijan. They have three children together: Artur, Alan and Adam. Their first son, Artur, was born on 24 March 2004.

Around the time shortly after Chagaev won the world title, several news reported that Chagaev was having an affair with Gulnara Karimova, daughter of the Uzbek President Islam Karimov. An anonymous source claimed that Karimova pushed Chagaev to divorce his then-wife and marry her. On 18 October 2007 a website CentreAsia published news that Chagaev divorced his wife on 26 September. The website showed photos of documents published by the tabloid Darakchi to confirm those rumors. He was allegedly supposed to marry Karimova, but shortly before the scheduled date Ruslan, Viktoria and their kids illegally left Uzbekistan and moved to Germany where Ruslan and Viktoria remarried. This resulted in the government taking his portraits away from all places and Uzbek media being forbidden to mention Chagaev in any form.[168][169] Currently Ruslan resides in Hamburg, Germany with his family.

Chagaev is a fan of Schalke 04. Before his first title defense against Matt Skelton, Chagaev visited Schalke's training center. The team's head coach Mirko Slomka offered his players to train while using exercises typical for boxers. At the end of the training, Chagaev had a sparring session with its main squad players, particularly Gerald Asamoah and Marcelo Bordon.[170][171] Prior to his showdown with Wladimir Klitschko, Chagaev became an official member of its fan club. He also publicly received its home shirt from the club's president Josef Schnusenberg.[172][173][174]

Professional boxing recordEdit

Professional record summary
38 fights 34 wins 3 losses
By knockout 21 2
By decision 13 1
Draws 1
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
38 Loss 34–3–1   Lucas Browne TKO 10 (12), 2:02 5 Mar 2016   Colosseum Sport Hall, Grozny, Russia Lost WBA (Regular) heavyweight title;
Chagaev later reinstated as champion after Browne failed a drug test
37 Win 34–2–1   Francesco Pianeta TKO 1 (12), 2:57 11 Jul 2015   GETEC Arena, Magdeburg, Germany Retained WBA (Regular) heavyweight title
36 Win 33–2–1   Fres Oquendo MD 12 6 Jul 2014   Akhmat-Arena, Grozny, Russia Won vacant WBA (Regular) heavyweight title
35 Win 32–2–1   Jovo Pudar UD 12 5 Oct 2013   Olympic Stadium, Moscow, Russia Won vacant WBA Continental (Europe) and PABA heavyweight titles
34 Win 31–2–1   Mike Sheppard KO 1 (10), 1:40 22 Mar 2013   Universal Hall, Berlin, Germany
33 Win 30–2–1   Werner Kreiskott TKO 7 (8), 0:14 1 Sep 2012   König Pilsener Arena, Oberhausen, Germany
32 Win 29–2–1   Billy Zumbrun TKO 3 (8), 1:26 21 Apr 2012   Sport- und Kongresshalle, Schwerin, Germany
31 Win 28–2–1   Kertson Manswell UD 8 28 Jan 2012   Grand Elysée Rotherbaum, Hamburg, Germany
30 Loss 27–2–1   Alexander Povetkin UD 12 27 Aug 2011   Messe, Erfurt, Germany For vacant WBA (Regular) heavyweight title
29 Win 27–1–1   Travis Walker UD 8 19 Nov 2010   Universum Gym, Hamburg, Germany
28 Win 26–1–1   Kali Meehan UD 12 22 May 2010   StadtHalle, Rostock, Germany
27 Loss 25–1–1   Wladimir Klitschko RTD 9 (12), 3:00 20 Jun 2009   Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany For IBF, WBO, IBO, and vacant The Ring heavyweight titles
26 Win 25–0–1   Carl Davis Drumond TD 6 (12), 3:00 7 Feb 2009   StadtHalle, Rostock, Germany Retained WBA heavyweight title;
Unanimous TD after Chagaev was cut from an accidental head clash
25 Win 24–0–1   Matt Skelton UD 12 19 Jan 2008   Burg-Wächter Castello, Düsseldorf, Germany Retained WBA heavyweight title
24 Win 23–0–1   Nikolai Valuev MD 12 14 Apr 2007   Porsche-Arena, Stuttgart, Germany Won WBA heavyweight title
23 Win 22–0–1   John Ruiz SD 12 18 Nov 2006   Burg-Wächter Castello, Düsseldorf, Germany
22 Win 21–0–1   Michael Sprott TKO 8 (12), 2:54 15 Jul 2006   Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany Retained WBA Inter-Continental heavyweight title;
Won WBO Asia-Pacific heavyweight title
21 Win 20–0–1   Volodymyr Virchis MD 12 11 Mar 2006   Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany Won WBA and WBO Inter-Continental heavyweight titles
20 Win 19–0–1   Rob Calloway KO 2 (10), 2:10 7 Jan 2006   Zenith, Munich, Germany
19 Win 18–0–1   Mark Krence KO 5 (8), 1:28 22 Oct 2005   Brandberge Arena, Halle, Germany
18 Win 17–0–1   Jucimar Francisco Hipolito TKO 1 (8), 0:50 28 Sep 2005   Color Line Arena, Hamburg, Germany
17 Win 16–0–1   Sherman Williams UD 8 26 Mar 2005   Erdgas Arena, Riesa, Germany
16 Win 15–0–1   Tommy Connelly TKO 2 (8), 1:51 14 Dec 2004   Freizeit Arena, Sölden, Austria
15 Win 14–0–1   Asmir Vojnovic TKO 4 (10), 0:45 16 Nov 2004   Kugelbake-Halle, Cuxhaven, Germany
14 Win 13–0–1   Willie Williams KO 3 (8), 2:25 26 Oct 2004   Scandlines Arena, Rostock, Germany
13 Win 12–0–1   Garing Lane KO 5 (8), 1:46 31 Jul 2004   Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle, Stuttgart, Germany
12 Win 11–0–1   Sedreck Fields KO 2 (8), 2:45 22 Jun 2004   Sportzentrum, Telfs, Austria
11 Win 10–0–1   Wade Lewis TKO 1 (6), 2:33 18 May 2004   Hansehalle, Lübeck, Germany
10 Win 9–0–1   Alexey Varakin KO 2 (6) 30 Mar 2004   Saaltheater Geulen, Aachen, Germany
9 Win 8–0–1   Sedreck Fields UD 6 17 Feb 2004   Hansehalle, Lübeck, Germany
8 Win 7–0–1   Daniel Frank KO 2 (6), 0:54 8 Nov 2003   Universum Gym, Hamburg, Germany
7 Win 6–0–1   Zakeem Graham TKO 3 (10), 2:26 22 May 2003   Raceway, Yonkers, New York, US
6 Draw 5–0–1   Rob Calloway TD 3 (10), 2:41 5 Oct 2002   Cobo Hall, Detroit, Michigan, US TD after Calloway was cut from an accidental head clash
5 Win 5–0   Chris Isaac UD 8 11 May 2002   Grand Casino, Biloxi, Mississippi, US
4 Win 4–0   Val Smith KO 1 (4), 2:26 14 Jan 2002   The Joint, Paradise, Nevada, US
3 Win 3–0   Everett Martin TKO 4 (4) 21 Sep 2001   Sport Palace Yunusabad, Tashkent, Uzbekistan
Was reinstated as an amateur boxer by AIBA, and resumed his amateur career
2 Win 2–0   Brian Jones KO 2 (4), 1:10 3 Sep 1997   Ramada Inn, Rosemont, Illinois, US
1 Win 1–0   Donnie Penelton KO 1 (4), 2:30 21 Aug 1997   Hollywood Casino, Aurora, Illinois, US

Television viewershipEdit


Date Fight Viewership (avg.) Network Source(s)
11 March 2006
Ruslan Chagaev vs. Volodymyr Virchis
ZDF [175]
14 April 2007
Nikolai Valuev vs. Ruslan Chagaev
Das Erste [176]
7 February 2009
Ruslan Chagaev vs. Carl Davis Drumond
ZDF [177]
20 July 2009
Wladimir Klitschko vs. Ruslan Chagaev
RTL Television [178]
22 May 2010
Ruslan Chagaev vs. Kali Meehan
ZDF [179]
27 August 2011
Ruslan Chagaev vs. Alexander Povetkin
Das Erste [180]
11 July 2015
Ruslan Chagaev vs. Francesco Pianeta
Sat.1 [181]
Total viewership 33,030,000

See alsoEdit


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External linksEdit

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Preceded by WBA Inter-Continental
heavyweight champion

11 March 2006 – 15 July 2006
Title next held by
Taras Bidenko
WBO Inter-Continental
heavyweight champion

11 March 2006 – April 2006
Title next held by
Alexander Dimitrenko
Title last held by
Sultan Ibragimov
WBO Asia Pacific
heavyweight champion

15 July 2006 – March 2007
Title next held by
Denis Bakhtov
New title WBA Continental heavyweight champion

5 October 2013 – 6 July 2014
Won world title
Title next held by
Otto Wallin
Preceded by
Jovo Pudar
PABA heavyweight champion
5 October 2013 – 5 July 2014
Title next held by
Joseph Parker
World boxing titles
Preceded by WBA heavyweight champion
14 April 2007 – 18 July 2008
Status changed
Title next held by
Nikolai Valuev
Title last held by
Alexander Povetkin
WBA heavyweight champion
Regular title

6 July 2014 – 5 March 2016
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Lucas Browne
WBA heavyweight champion
Regular title

13 May 2016 – 25 July 2016
Title next held by
Manuel Charr
Honorary boxing titles
Title next held by
Roy Jones Jr
WBA heavyweight champion
In recess

18 July 2008 – 20 June 2009
Title next held by
Manuel Charr