Hollywood, August 3:
Evander Holyfield can become a world heavyweight champion for the fifth time when he fights Russiaâ€™s undefeated Sultan Ibragimov on October 13 in Moscow.
Six days before his 45th birthday, Holyfield will fight for the lesser-regarded World Boxing Organisation (WBO) crown after the withdrawal of Uzbek Ruslan Chagaev, the World Boxing Association champion, from a scheduled fight with Ibragimov.
Holyfield would not become the oldest champion in heavyweight history. George Foreman knocked out Michael Moorer in 1994 at 45 years and nearly 10 months of age to claim the WBA and IBF titles.
â€œThis is the first step on my quest to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world, and Iâ€™m glad Sultan Ibragimov was willing to step up and give me a shot,â€ Holyfield said. â€œIâ€™m looking forward to fighting in Moscow for the first time and winning my fifth heavyweight title there.â€
Holyfield, 42-8 with two draws and 27 knockouts, last fought for a world title in 2002 when fellow American Chris Byrd won a unanimous 12-round decision for the vacant IBF crown. In 2004, the New York State Athletic Commission banned Holyfield from boxing in the state but amended the ban the next year so he could return to the ring.
Since then, Holyfield has won four fights in a row in his comeback bid, the most recent a unanimous decision over US rival Lou Savarese on June 30.
Ibragimov, 21-0 with one drawn and 17 knockouts, won a silver medal for Russia at the 2000 Olympics. He took the WBO throne from US fighter Shannon Briggs in June. â€œOf course Iâ€™m disappointed that Chagaev pulled out and wonâ€™t allow me to unify our titles, but fighting a legend like Holyfield is even better,â€ Ibragimov said.
â€œAnd 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 â€” my world championship.â€