Klitschko-Chagaev Confirmed for June 20

IBF and WBO Heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko has decided to keep his June 20 fight date, despite challenger David Haye pulling out with a back injury. WBA “Champion in Recess” Ruslan Chagaev, who was deemed medically unfit to take on Nikolay Valuev last weekend, will take Haye’s place against Klitschko.

Haye had been pushing for the fight to be rescheduled for July, but Klitschko has been out since December and would rather keep the fight date than increase his layoff even three more weeks. With Klitschko needing to make a mandatory defense of his IBF title against Alexander Povetkin by September, Haye’s opportunity will likely be delayed until December or early next year, if rescheduled.

Chagaev is undefeated and rated the #3 heavyweight by The RING Magazine. He defeated Nikolay Valuev for the WBA title in April of 2007 with a majority decision but pulled out of a mandated rematch on three different occasions. Along the way, the WBA allowed Valuev to become its champion with a win over John Ruiz last summer, making Chagaev its “Champion in Recess.”

While Haye is a conventional slugger, Chagaev is a methodical southpaw, meaning Klitschko’s training will take a drastic turn on only 14 days’ notice. Having trained for Valuev, Chagaev will still be facing a much taller opponent who dictates with his jab albeit a much better one.

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