Ruslan Chagaev vs. Francesco Pianeta on July 11th in Germany
By Allan Fox: WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (33-2-1, 20 KOs) will be making his first defense of his WBA title in two months from now against fringe contender #13 WBA Francesco Pianeta (31-1, 17 KOs) on July 11th at the GETEC Arena in Magdeburg, Germany.
Pianeta, 6’5”, is getting another shot at a world title after being knocked out by IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2013 in a 6th round knockout loss. Pianeta hasn’t done a whole lot since then in beating Robert Teuber, Mickael Vieira and Ivica Bacurin.
Chagaev has the better power and boxing skills compared to Pianeta. This should be a winnable fight for Chagaev as long as he’s able to deal with his height disadvantage. He’s giving up six inches in height.
Chagaev defeated Fres Oquendo in July 2014 by a controversial 12 round majority decision. Instead of facing Oquendo in a rematch, Chagaev has opted to face Pianeta in July.
Chagaev obviously is hoping he can get past Pianeta because it would be a big disappointment if he were to lose to a fighter in Pianeta’s class. This is would normally be someone that the southpaw Chagaev would be able to beat, but he’s getting up there in age at 36, and he’s giving away a lot of height to the 6’5” Pianeta. Chagaev can’t afford to lose his WBA title so soon against a fighter like Pianeta because this is about the safest fight that Chagaev can get in terms of contenders.
Chagaev has something in common with Pianeta in that he too was beaten by Wladimir Klitschko in the past. Chagaev was knocked out in the 9th round in his fight with Wladimir in 2009. It was a real setback for Chagaev’s career because he was getting healthy and was starting to get busy with his career.
In 2011, Chagaev lost a 12 round unanimous decision to Alexander Povetkin for the vacant WBA heavyweight title. It was close enough to where the fight could have gone either way. Povetkin got the nod based on his high work rate, but Chagaev appeared to land the cleaner landing punches.
In 2007, Chagaev defeated 7-foot WBA heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev by a 12 round majority decision in a fight that could have gone either way. Valuev landed more shots, but he didn’t have the power on his punches that Chagaev did. Unfortunately for Chagaev, he wasn’t able to take advantage of being the WBA champion, as he only defended his WBA title twice due to him being ill.