HOLLYWOOD, FL, June 28 – This October, after almost eight years of splintered titles and heated debates, boxing will witness the crowning of a unified Heavyweight Champion of the World, as Sultan Ibragimov will put his WBO crown on the line against Ruslan Chagev’s WBA belt in a bout pitting Champion against Champion in a quest for heavyweight supremacy.
This bout, scheduled for October 13th, will take place at a location to be announced, in Moscow, Russia. This historic event is not only the first unification bout between two European-born fighters and the first heavyweight unification bout held outside the United States, but it is the first heavyweight unification bout since 1999, when Lennox Lewis and Evander Holyfield engaged in two bouts with each fighter’s titles up for grabs. Since then, the titles have broken off and fight fans no longer can point to one fighter and say ‘that’s the champion.’
But on October 13th, that will all change!
“When I became champion, I said my only goal was to unify the belts and become the only world heavyweight champion,” said Ibragimov. “This is my first step towards that goal.”
Ibragimov-Chagaev, a 12 round heavyweight title unification bout, is presented by Nafta Moskva, and will be promoted by Seminole Warriors Boxing, Golden Grain Promotions and Sampson Lewkowicz, in association with Universum Box Promotions. Broadcast plans for the bout will be announced once they are secured.
“Both Sultan and Ruslan are true fighters and this may have been the easiest fight I’ve ever put together,” said Leon Margules, Executive Director of Seminole Warriors Boxing. “They don’t want to worry about easy fights or mandatories; they want to unify this belt and put heavyweight boxing on the map. There is no doubt in my mind that the winner of this fight has earned the right to be called “THE” heavyweight champion of the world.”
“I have been working with Sultan Ibragimov for five years and I knew from the very first day, Sultan would be the best heavyweight champion in the world,” said Sampson Lewkowicz.
A 2000 Olympic Silver medalist for Russia, Sultan Ibragimov (21-0-1, 17 KOs) struck heavyweight Gold in June when he decisively decisioned Shannon Briggs over 12 rounds to win the WBO heavyweight championship. For the fifth southpaw to win the heavyweight crown, it was the culmination of a journey that began in Dagestan and which led him to wins over Al Cole, Lance Whitaker, and Javier Mora. Now, the 32-year old – who can either box or bang between the ropes – will return home to face his greatest challenge yet.
Nicknamed “White Tyson” for his tenacious style and his concussive punching power, 28-year old Ruslan Chagaev (23-0, 17 KOs) showed another impressive aspect to his fight game in April when he strategically and technically picked apart seven-foot giant Nikolay Valuev en route to a 12 round decision win and the WBA heavyweight championship. It was the biggest win to date for the former two-time world amateur champion from Andizhan, Uzbekistan, whose road to becoming only the fourth southpaw heavyweight champion in history included wins over Vladimir Virchis, Michael Sprott, and former world titlist John Ruiz.
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