Ruslan Chagaev clinched his version of the WBA heavyweight title on Saturday with a sixth-round technical decision win over Costa Rica’s Carl Davis Drumond after more than a year out of the ring.
Chagaev, deemed to be the WBA’s Champion-in-Recess, will now face Russia’s Nikolai Valuev, the Interim WBA champion, later this year to decide the undisputed champion.
In a bizarre finish, Saturday’s fight was stopped after the sixth round with Chagaev bleeding heavily from a cut over his left eye following an accidental clash of heads, but the Uzbeki was then awarded the fight.
On his comeback after rupturing his Achilles tendon last June, he was awarded a technical decision by the judges who scored the fight 60-54, 58-56, 58-56.
It was Drumond’s first defeat in 27 fights and Chagaev’s 25th win to leave him unbeaten.
Ring doctor Christoph Goetz said the fight needed to be stopped to prevent any further damage to Chagaev’s eye.
This was Chagaev’s first fight since he beat Britain’s Matt Skelton last January and the Uzbekistan fighter remains the only boxer to inflict a defeat on Russian giant Valuev after a win in April 2007.
In his injury-enforced absence, Valuev became the Interim WBA champion by beating John Ruiz and then defended the title against Evander Holyfield.
■ DARCHINYAN V ARCE
AP, ANAHEIM, California
Australia-based Armenian Vic Darchinyan retained his undisputed super flyweight title with an 11th-round technical knockout of Mexico’s Jorge Arce on Saturday.
Darchinyan constantly landed solid punches but Arce not only refused to go down, he waded in and tried to land blows of his own. He usually didn’t, but the champion was impressed.
Arce’s face was covered with blood and his knees were buckling as he took shots on the ropes in the closing seconds of the 11th round.
The ring physician examined a gash near the fighter’s right eye and determined he should not come out for the 12th.
Darchinyan retained his WBA, WBC and IBF belts, though Arce was disappointed at the fight being ended.
“I don’t know why the doctor stopped it,” Arce said through a translator. “Going into the last round, a fighter always has a chance to win.”