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Valuev, Ruiz set August date for WBA heavyweight title rematch

Former heavyweight titleholders Nikolai Valuev and John Ruiz will meet for the vacant WBA title Aug. 30 in Berlin, Valuev co-promoter Sauerland Event said Monday moments after winning Monday's purse bid to gain rights to the fight.

Sauerland Event won the purse bid at WBA headquarters in Panama with an offer of $2,106,401, edging German competitor Universum Box-Promotion, which bid $2,006,500. Don King, who promotes Ruiz and co-promotes Valuev, submitted a bid of $1,000,010, just $10 over the minimum.

Valuev (48-1, 34 KOs) won a majority decision against Ruiz (43-7-1, 29 KOs) to claim a title in December 2005. They'll be returning to the same arena where Valuev won their first fight with each man entitled to 50 percent of the winning bid.

"I am happy my team won and that the fight will be staged in Germany," said Valuev, who is from Russia but fights out of Germany. "Berlin is very special to me. That is where I defeated Ruiz in 2005 to become world champion. Fighting in the Max Schmeling Halle again will be like a home match."

The title became available when belt holder Ruslan Chagaev tore his left Achilles tendon and underwent surgery earlier this month, which forced him to withdraw for the second time from a mandatory defense against Valuev, which had been scheduled for July 5.

The WBA declared Chagaev a "champion in recess," and approved Valuev-Ruiz II for the vacant belt. The winner is obligated to face Chagaev upon his return, but no later than June 26, 2009.

"Nikolai is eager to win back his title," Sauerland managing director Chris Meyer said. "He has gone through the full preparation twice and can't wait to get back into the ring."

Also in Panama, Sauerland Event won another purse bid to stage the mandatory defense of super middleweight titleholder Mikkel Kessler (40-1, 30 KOs) against Sauerland boxer Danilo Hausler (29-3-1, 7 KOs). The date and location have not been determined.

Sauerland offered $1.140 million, more than enough to beat the bid of $777,777 made by Kessler promoter Mogens Palle. Kessler is entitled to 60 percent of the winning bid ($684,000) to Hausler's 40 percent ($456,000). Minimum bid was $200,000.


Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.