Christmas came early for Nikolai Valuev as he received one of the most dubious decisions in recent time as with the help of the ringside judges he retained the WBA Heavyweight title with a majority decision over legendary Evander Holyfield In front of a boisterous sell-out crowd of 12,500 fans in Zurich.
Holyfield was more consistent as he landed pot shots and seemingly took most of the rounds. Valuev did next to nothing as he pawed with his jab and late in the fight tried to throw a right hand. The decision for Holyfield seemed like a mere formality until Michael Buffer bellowed out the 116-112, 115-114, 114-114 verdict for the seven-foot Russian…15rounds.com had it 118-111 for the former four-time champion.
“Niko was very cautious at the beginning,” coach Alexander Zimin stated. “That was exactly what he needed to be against someone like Evander Holyfield, who is very experienced and has a great tactical knowledge. It would have taken a bad ending for us if Nikolai had tried to attack him from the first bell on. After five rounds he slowly adjusted to the pace and Holyfield´s style. Our tactics worked better from that point on.”
“It was a very close fight and a draw would have been all right,” manager Wilfried Sauerland said. “Like I predicted it was a battle between Holyfield´s great boxing skills and Niko´s size. I think that Holyfield won the first six and Valuev won the last six rounds. But Evander did not fight like a challenger in the second half of the fight. He only ran away and never punched. That is not how you win a title.”
“I am honoured to have had the opportunity to fight for the title. It was a good fight,” he said. “Of course I am disappointed. I thought I had won the fight, I thought I had won more rounds than he did but I did not get the decision.” The four-time champion stated that Valuev was much faster than he had anticipated. “His hands are not as slow as people think,” he added. “He is very hard to hit because he is so big. He had a pretty good defence by the way he positioned his body, he is a hard target to hit.
“I was trying to do the things my corner asked me to do by moving him around, when I did I was able to catch him off guard.
“I have a history of proving people wrong and I think I showed tonight that I can still perform.”
Holyfield said he will take his time to consider his future options. “Now I will just have to go home, rest and think about my future. My goal is to be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. I am not interested in fighting for the sake of fighting, I want to be a champion again.”
Maybe we will get a second chance against Valuev in Zurich. “It was a great event here in Switzerland with a fantastic crowd,” Sauerland Event managing director Chris Meyer said. “Holyfield was impressive and the close result makes a rematch a possibility. But Nikolai has to fight Chagaev first. There is no need for Chagaev to fight a different opponent before because Nikolai is ready and waiting for him. After that, we will see what happens.”
Valuev is now 50-1. Holyfield is now 42-10-2.
THE FOLLOWING IS 15ROUNDS.COM ROUND BY ROUND DESCRIPTION
12 ROUNDS-WBA “INTERIM” HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE–NIKOLAI VALUEV (49-1, 34 KO’s) vs Evander Holyfield (42-9-2, 27 KO’s)
Round 1 crowd chanting “Holyfield, Holyfield, Holyfield”..Valuev tries to throw a body shot…Over hand right from Evander..counter left…not man punches bu Evander landed the only punches of note…10-9 Holyfield
Round 2 Valuev tries an uppercut..Hook inside for Evander..20-18 Holyfield
Round 3 Valuev throws a jab…Evander throws a right and lands inside…Body punch..30-27 Holyfield
Round 4 Valuev finally looking to jab a little bit..Double jab…Holyfield lands a 3 punch combo…Uppercut from Valuev…40-36 Holyfield
Round 5 Hook to the had from Evander on the ropes… 50-45 Holyfield
Round 6 Holyfield works the body…Nice combination from Valuev…Jab..59-55 Holyfield
Round 7 Valuev lands a right and Holyfield tries to flurry…Holyfield lands 2 rights on the inside…Nice right from Valuev..69-64 Holyfield
Round 8 3 rights from Valuev.. right over the top following an attempted Holyfield jab…78-74 Holyfield
Round 9 Valuev lands a left hook that makes Evander slip..valuev lands a hook that has Holyfield land a nice combination…Valuev jabbing…Holyfield lands a left hook on the inside and body…88-83 Holyfield
Round 10 Nice right counter from Holyfield…98-92 Holyfield
Round 11 Not much going..Pretty lethargic action, even by this snoozer of a fight standards…108-102 Holyfield
Round 12 Holyfield lands 2 big rights..118-111 Holyfield
10 rounds-Woman’s Flyweights–Eileen Olszewski (5-2-1) vs Nadia Raoui (9-0, 3 KO’s)
Round 1 Good jab from Olszewski, nice right…Right..10-9 Olszewski
Round 2 Olszewski lands a nice left…Raoui lands a straight right..Good right rocks Olszewski back… 19-19
Round 3 Nixe left from Raoui…Olszewski lands a jab..Raoui sneaks in a right…29-28 Raoui
Round 4 Raoui lands a right…another right…Olazewski lands a right at the bell…39-37 Raoui
Round 5 Left from Olszewski…Good left from raoui…Good body work from olszewski…48-47 Raoui
Round 6 Short right from Raoui…58-56 Raoui
Round 7 Not much to choose from…68-66
Round 8 Raoui lands a flurry of punches to start the round…Olszewki lands a left hook…78-75 Raoui
Round 9 ..Good right from Olszewski…87-85 Raoui
Round 10…Good left on the inside from Olszewski…raoui landing good shots on the inside…97-94 Raoui
10 Rounds–Super Middleweights–Mads Larsen (50-2, 37 KO’s) vs Roberto Cocco (9-2, 5 KO’s)
Round 1 Larsen trying to work the jab…Larsen 10-9
Round 2 Larsen lands an uppercut…Right hand…Combination..20-18
Round 3 Cocco lands an nice right inside….29-28 Larsen
Round 4 Nice right from Cocco..Right and left from Larsen…Combination punching..Cocco backing up…Nice combination’s from Larsen…39-37 Larsen
Round 5 Larsen flicking the jab..Good combination punching…Flurrying from Larsen..Body shot from Larsen..49-46 Larsen
Round 6Larsen doing well with jabs and body shots…59-55 Larsen
Round 7 Combination hurts Cocco…TOWEL THROWN IN FIGHT OVER TKO FOR LARSEN
On the undercard, Francesco Pianeta defended the EU heayweight belt with a unanimous points victory over previously undefeated Johann Duhaupas. The judges scored the bout 117-111, 116-112 and 115-113. “It was the first time I went the full 12 rounds so it was a very good experience for me,” the 24-year-old said.