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New champ tallest, heaviest ever

By wire services
Published December 18, 2005

BERLIN - John Ruiz lost the WBA heavyweight title Saturday night, dropping a disputed majority decision to 7-foot Nikolay Valuev of Russia.

Valuev, who becomes the tallest and heaviest (323 pounds) champion ever, won 116-113 and 116-114 on two judges' cards, with a third judge scoring the fight 114-114.

The crowd of 10,000 booed the decision.

"Boxing is the only sport where you can get robbed without a gun," Ruiz said. "My promoter, Don King, should do his job and get a rematch."

Ruiz's manager, Norman Stone, had to be restrained after the announcement, and German promoter Wilfried Sauerland accused him of inciting the crowd, leading to the booing. Stone grabbed the belt from Valuev after the bout and a scuffle ensued. "I'm always fighting a smaller man and the crowd always supports the smaller man," the 32-year-old Valuev (43-0 with one no-decision) said of the crowd's jeers. "But I was perfectly sure at the end I had won."

The 33-year-old Ruiz (42-6-1) weighed 85 pounds less than Valuev and was 10 inches shorter.

Valuev began throwing combinations in the seventh round, and landed the only punch that did damage in the final round.

Also, Laila Ali stopped Sweden's Asa Sandell in Round 5 of a non-title bout with her father, Muhammad Ali, watching. Laila Ali is the women's WBC champion.

[Last modified December 18, 2005, 01:02:23]


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