December 17, Berlin, Germany: By Per Ake Persson, photo by David Martin-Warr/DKP – Nikolai Valuev, 324 lbs, won the WBA heavyweight title on a close majority decision over defending champion John Ruiz. It was scored 116-114, 116-113 and 114-114. There were no knockdowns and most ringsiders felt it was a difficult fight to score. Ruiz made a fast, agressive start and appeared to be faster than the giant Russian but seemed lose his agression as the fight went on. Valuev boxed well on the outside, using his left jab, although many of his punches didn´t land and he tends to slap a bit. However, he controlled the fight and was strong enough on the inside to out wrestle Ruiz. Ruiz landed a good right in the last round. Valuev showed a good right uppercut during much of the fight and is still learning. However, he should use his size more.
The verdict got a mixed reception at the almost sold out Max Schmeling Halle. In the ring, Ruiz´s trainer Norman Stone was so upset about the scoring that he took the belt and one of Valuev´s cornermen jumped on him and gave him a good right before the guards could take them apart.
The chief support that almost overshadowed the mainevent saw Laila Ali put on a poor performance but eventually she wore down Sweden´s Aasa Sandell for a fifth round stoppage. Ali was downright sloppy in the way she stalked her taller opponent but Sandell kind of wore herself out with an amateurish movement and wasted a lot of punches. But she got the crowd on her
side and these might be rematched. With more time to prepare Sandell can improve but so can Ali and there´s a big difference in class between these two female supermiddles.
Cruiser Marco Huck clearly beat slick American Michael Simms after eight.
Sauerland Event´s latest signing, Belgian-based Oleg Platov took out strong Canadian Stephane Tessier in the fourth and showed good power.
Norwegian jr middle Nikita Dubunin shut out brave but limited Czech Petr Rykala over six.
Don King´s Croatian heavy Mario Preskar stopped Ervin Slonka in the final round of their six-rounder. Preskar showed a lot of good moves and Slonka soaked up a bad beating.
In attendance: well, the Greatest was there and seemed to be in good spirits and the crowd still loves Muhammad Ali. Former Ali-opponent, Jurgen Blin, was also there as was Henry Maske, Sven Ottke, Markus Beyer, Arthur Abraham, Ray Joval, Henry Akinwande and lots of other former and current fighters.