Former world heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev is aiming to win back his beloved WBA championship this Sunday and hold it aloft for the first time since 2009.
The 35 year-old’s previous reign ended when Chagaev announced his intention to challenge unified king Wladimir Klitschko in June of that year and then subsequently failed to reclaim the title when facing the then champion Alexander Povetkin two years later.
After clawing his way back into contention with five straight victories, the ‘White Tyson’ is adamant that there will be no mistakes this time around against veteran American Fres Oquendo.
“This is my big chance to finally win back the title which I never lost in the ring and It means everything to me,” Chagaev told World Boxing News.
“I know how it feels to be heavyweight champion of the world and I want to have this feeling again. I want to feel that big, heavy, gold belt around my waist.
“Fres Oquendo is a very experienced fighter who has been in the ring with some great champions. He knows exactly what to do in the ring, so I will have to be very careful and focused and I am sure it will be a great fight.”
At 5ft 11ins, Chagaev has been the smaller man in the ring on many occasions in the past and giving away three inches to Oquendo, 41, won’t phase the southpaw when the pair collide at the Ahmat Arena in Grozny.
“I am used to fighting taller guys. I have been doing it all my life,” said Chagaev. “I fought Klitschko and don’t forget that I beat Valuev. Compared to him Oquendo is just a normal guy, so I know what is coming and I will be very well prepared for him.”
“Getting around his jab won’t be a problem for me. As I said I have been doing this all my life. Don’t worry, I will find a way to hit him and not get hit at the same time.
“Remember, this is what I do for living and this is what I have done for years and years.”
Chagaev continued: “Oquendo has been in the ring with some of the greatest fighters of our time – but that has been a while ago. His last big fights are ten years ago. He hasn’t had the chance to get any big fights recently. I don’t believe that this is because he didn’t want to. It is because nobody wanted to fight him – and also he didn’t have the support from a big promoter.
“So it is hard for me to see what shape he is in and how he will do. I guess we will find out in the ring. Whatever happens, I see my arm getting raised in the end and the world championship coming back to me.
“That is the only thing that counts. I will not make any predictions, but I am prepared for twelve hard rounds,” he added.
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