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Author`s name Alex Naumov

Sultan Ibragimov prepares to fight ‘legend’

At least this postponement will result in an attractive, yet past-his-prime alternative for newly crowned heavyweight champion Sultan Ibragimov.

A Russia native and part-time Hallandale Beach resident, Ibragimov wanted to help clear the multiplicity of heavyweight champions in his first bout as titleholder.

Ibragimov, who captured the World Boxing Organization title with a victory over Shannon Briggs in June, was scheduled to fight World Boxing Association champion Ruslan Chagaev on Oct. 13 in Russia. But when Chagaev withdrew last week citing an undisclosed illness, Ibragimov's promotional team, Hollywood-based Warriors Boxing, lined up four-time world champion Evander Holyfield as a replacement.

''Of course I'm disappointed that Chagaev pulled out of our fight and won't allow me to unify our titles, but fighting a legend like Evander Holyfield is even better,'' Ibragimov said in a statement. "And though I respect what he has done in his career, once the bell rings it will be all business, because he is trying to take what I have worked so hard for -- my world championship."

Holyfield, 44, has won four consecutive fights since losing a lopsided decision against Larry Donald in 2004 in New York. Citing a concern for Holyfield's advanced boxing age and subpar performance in the Donald bout, the New York State Athletic Commission placed Holyfield on medical suspension.

But the Texas commission allowed Holyfield to fight a comeback bout against Jeremy Bates in August 2006. Holyfield has since fought three more times in Texas, including a convincing decision June 30 over Lou Savarese, reports.

The Ibragimov fight will also give Holyfield the chance of becoming the the second oldest heavyweight champion in history, behind George Foreman.

"Of course I am disappointed that Chagaev pulled out and won't allow me to unify our titles, but fighting a legend like Evander Holyfield is even better," Sultan Ibragimov said, and went on promising Holyfield that he will be a though opponent on the ring in October.

Evander Holyfield is 42-8-2 (27 KOs) and Sultan Ibragimov is 21-0-1 (17 KOs). Betting odds on the Ibragimov Holyfied fight will be posted shortly by the online sportsbook Bodog Sports (new window). We will publish the odds on this great bout as soon as they come out, reports.

Source: agencies

Prepared by Alexander Timoshik