Chagaev Under Consideration for Klitschko

It now appears Ruslan Chagaev is the leading candidate to fill in for the injured David Haye against Wladimir Klitschko on June 20. Only days ago, Chagaev was unable to go through with a fight against Nikolay Valuev to determine the WBA Champion, allegedly due to contracting Hepatitis B – the same medical condition that caused him to pull out of a unification bout with then-WBO Champion Sultan Ibragimov in 2007. He has now had three fights with Valuev canceled over the course of the last year, having previously pulled out with a viral infection and a torn Achilles tendon before the latest in a series of setbacks.

But Chagaev’s team insists he was healthy enough to compete, completely ignoring the fact that Valuev probably didn’t want to get in the ring with an opponent who had Hepatitis B. Apparently, Klitschko doesn’t mind, though, and would be willing to take on Chagaev in Haye’s absence. That fight would be particularly significant in that Chagaev is rated third by RING Magazine. A fight between Klitschko and Chagaev would likely be sanctioned by the RING to determine the champion of a division that really hasn’t had one since Lennox Lewis retired in early 2004.

Haye’s camp, by the way, is now revealing that the fighter suffered a back, rather than hand, injury. Haye claims he can be ready to fight by mid-July and wants the fight postponed until then, but Klitschko is eager to fight and just may go through with a fight with Chagaev. In either case, the Klitschko camp has made it clear that their options at this time are to fight Chagaev on June 20 or to wait and fight Haye in July.

A point of concern, especially for the Haye camp should Klitschko go through with the Chagaev fight, is that Wladimir is obligated to face his IBF mandatory, Alexander Povetkin, by September. If Klitschko fights Chagaev on June 20, Haye may find himself on the outside looking in until December.

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