Fres Oquendo’s wife and newborn were in the hospital when he boarded a plane to Grozny, Russia in July to take on Ruslan Chagaev for the WBA Heavyweight title – a fight that was slated to take place just 36 hours after his arrival. For his troubles, Oquendo was guaranteed a purse of $1 million dollars and a rematch within 120 days in the event that he lost.
“The only reason I even left my wife and newborn child was because [Chechnyan] President Ramzan Kadyrov and Andre Rabinsky both personally called and guaranteed my safety, a rematch and the $1,000,000 to take care of my family,” said Oquendo. “They literally begged me to go even though I had no sleep, had not worked out in 2 weeks and literally got there an hour before the weigh in.” Rabinsky guaranteed an additional $100,000, per the promoter, when travel plans didn’t go as expected.
Oquendo did indeed lose the fight, in a controversial majority decision, and has since not been paid the purse he agreed to with Rabinsky and Kadyrov – a purse that was secured by the fight contract. Hitz Boxing and Square Ring Promotions have also not been paid the agreed upon promotional fee. “We’ve seen reports this week that Chagaev is looking for an opponent,” said Bobby Hitz, founder and promoter of Hitz Boxing. He’s got an opponent. His opponent is Fres Oquendo. The WBA should make sure this fight happens. It is what both guys agreed to before the fight. The WBA needs to help make sure that Fres gets paid, and that he gets his rematch.”
There were a number of irregularities during the match that Hitz feels the WBA needs to address. “We filed a protest with the WBA in August. What was the Chechnyan President doing climbing up on the apron between rounds to coach Chagaev? That’s blatantly against WBA rules. Rounds were cut short. There was no commission. The whole thing was a farce,” said Hitz.
Hitz continued, “All of this is on paper. We’ve got a lawsuit ready to be filed in the Southern District of New York, naming the WBA, Chagaev’s promoter, Timur Dugazaev, and Malte Mueller-Michaelis, who orchestrated the bout, unless all of this gets resolved. The lawsuit against Dugazaev, Mueller-Michaelis and the WBA will include several charges, including breach of contract and tortuous interference. These parties have employed various delay tactics. We’ve heard excuses ranging from religious holidays, to vacations, to the political climate and everything in between. Enough is enough. We can no longer leave this unresolved, especially since it appears that they are trying to overlook us for the rematch that we’re entitled to, and they are contractually bound to provide.”