Valuev, Chagaev to meet in rematch
Heavyweight titleholder Nikolai Valuev will have a chance to avenge his only professional defeat against Ruslan Chagaev.
Sauerland Event, Valuev's promoter, won Monday's WBA purse bid in Vitoria, Spain, to gain control of the bout, which will be staged at the Hartwall Arena in Helsinki.
Sauerland Event bid $2,814,414, beating Universum, the only other bidder, which offered $2,164,660. The bid, with a minimum offer of $1 million, was open to any registered WBA promoter.
Under the bid, Valuev is entitled to 55 percent of the money ($1,547,928) with Chagaev due 45 percent ($1,266,486).
"We are very happy to have won the bid and we are pleased to promote this fight for Nikolai," Sauerland Event general manager Chris Meyer said in a statement. "We intend to stage the bout on May 30. We have targeted Helsinki, Finland, as the location but will announce further details in the next [few] days."
Chagaev handed Valuev his only career defeat in April 2007, a majority decision in Stuttgart, Germany, to claim the title. After one defense, Chagaev withdrew from two scheduled rematches with Valuev because of injury and illness. Because of the long layoff, Chagaev was demoted to the WBA's so-called "champion in recess" and Valuev outpointed John Ruiz to win the vacant belt in August.
In December, Valuev defended the belt via controversial majority decision against Evander Holyfield. Chagaev, meanwhile, returned from a foot injury in February to claim a six-round technical decision against Carl Davis Drummond in a fight that ended when Chagaev could not continue because of a cut caused by an accidental head clash.
Valuev (50-1, 34 KOs) and Chagaev (25-0-1, 17 KOs), promoted by rival promoters in Germany, could not make a deal, in large part because of contractual obligations to competing German television networks. With Sauerland Event winning the bid, it will control the fight and will be able to place it on its network, ARD.
Valuev, the 7-foot, 320-pound Russian, is training in Japan and was happy his promoter won the bid.
"I have been waiting for this day for two years," Valuev said. "I will finally make amends for only loss of my career."
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.
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