The whole boxing world was shocked by the sudden death of Fritz Sdunek late last year. One of the people affected most by the passing of the legendary trainer was regular WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev who was working out with Sdunek only days before the coach passed away.
“Fritz was one of the best human beings I ever met and also probably the best boxing trainer in the world”, states Chagaev. “He can never be fully replaced but I am happy that we found another coach who is working and thinking as professional and analytic as Fritz.”
Former Cuban national coach Pedro Diaz is currently preparing Chagaev for the first defense of the WBA title he had won last July in Grozny, Russia. Diaz is known as “boxing professor” who has made himself a big name in the pro ranks after leaving Cuba in 2000. Amongst others Diaz has worked with Odlanier Solis, Miguel Cotto and Guillermo Rigondeaux. “We are very happy that we could secure the services of a great coach like Pedro Diaz. This was only possible with the help and support of President Ramzan Kadyrov and we are very grateful for that”, says promoter Timur Dugazaev. “We are sure that Pedro Diaz will continue the excellent work that was started by Fritz Sdunek.”
The place and date of Chagaev’s first defense of his second title run as WBA champion hasn’t been announced yet. But there are talks about a voluntary defense in Germany end of June before taking on mandatory challenger Lucas Browne.
Last week, the team of Chagaev’s last opponent Fres Oquendo released a statement that Oquendo had been granted a rematch by a New York Court Order. Says Dugazaev, “I don’t know how Oquendo can sue me in New York and how a US court can even rule on that. As everybody knows the fight between Chagaev and Oquendo took place in Grozny. According to the bout agreement the jurisdiction regarding this fight is in Moscow. In addition to that Oquendo received the full agreed purse of 225,000.- US$ although he tested positive for banned substances after the fight. Actually, I sue him in Moscow for returning the purse as stated in the contract. There will be no rematch between Chagaev and Oquendo – unless Oquendo earns his spot as mandatory challenger fair and square in the ring. He had his chance and he lost even though he used unfair tactics. Now he still tries to blackmail me. People like this have no place in boxing and should be banned.”