Grozny, Russia – In what turned out to be a lackluster 12 round contest, Ruslan Chagaev (33-2-1, 20 KO’s) scored a narrow majority decision over Fres Oquendo (37-8, 24 KO’s) to become a two time WBA world heavyweight champion. Scores of the bout were 114-114, and 115-113 in favor Chagaev.
The bout was fought one punch at a time, with neither fighter throwing much in the way of combinations or taking charge to control the action. It was a match up that had the potential to be an entertaining and competitive bout had one of the participants stepped on the gas.
Chagaev landed the cleaner scoring shots, and was ahead as the fight approached its midpoint and was cut over the left eye in round seven. Oquendo picked up the pace in the latter half, now more than likely wishing he had started just a round earlier, and had a strong 12th frame over the fatigued Chagaev, but it just wasn’t enough to pull out the win.
The new champion last held the belt in 2009, before being stripped of the WBA title and losing in a shot at the IBF, WBO and IBO titles to Wladimir Klitschko and later losing to Alexander Povetkin for the WBA belt in 2011. Oquendo has now lost in his three attempts and a world championship, losing two title bouts to Chris Byrd and John Ruiz in 2003 and 2004.