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Oquendo to fight Chagaev after all

By Allan Fox: 41-year-old Fres Oquendo (37-7, 24 KO’s) has decided to take the fight with Ruslan Chagaev (32-2-1, 20 KO’s) after all, and he’s currently on a flight to Grozny, Russia to face Chagaev on Sunday for the vacant WBA heavyweight title at the Ahmat Arena.

It’s unclear what made Oquendo change his mind about the fight, as he had reportedly backed out of the fight earlier today. The organizers of the event thought originally of matching Shannon Briggs, and then later Alexander Petkovic.

It would have been a bit of a reach to have Briggs and Petkovic take the fight because neither of them are ranked in the top 15, although Briggs is probably good still to defeat either Chagaev or Oquendo right now. He’s looked really good during his comeback thus far.

The WBA has sanctioned the Oquendo vs. Chagaev fight so they have the green light for this to be for the vacant WBA heavyweight title. The overall WBA champion is Wladimir Klitschko, who captured his title in 2011 after beating David Haye.

The Chagaev-Oquendo fight is a real tough one to pick a pick a winner in because neither guy has looked good in quite some time. Chagaev used to be a decent heavyweight 7 years ago, but he’s slowed with age over the years, and his inactivity hasn’t helped him. He doesn’t much size at 5’11”, 240lbs, and he’s not a huge puncher.

Povetkin beat Chagaev by a 12 round decision three years ago in 2011, and since that time, Chagaev has been fighting tune-up and record padding fights. He’s won all of his fights in the last three years, but against weak opposition like Jovo Pudar, Mike Sheppard, Werner Kreiskott, Billy Zumbrun and Kertson Manswell.

Oquendo is coming into Sunday’s fight with a 5-fight winning streak against journeyman level opposition. He’s looked good in the fights though.

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