Boxing: Anger over Klitschko title 'upgrade'

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The Independent Online

The ludicrous reality of four recognised world sanctioning bodies operating inside the boxing business will become even crazier tonight when Russia's Alexander Povetkin and Ruslan Chagaev of Uzbekistan fight for the World Boxing Association's vacant heavyweight title in Germany.

It is the same title that London's David Haye lost in his great hitless but perfectly legitimate fight with Wladimir Klitschko last month, and the same championship belt that Klitschko assumed that he had won. However, the Caracas-based WBA decided to upgrade Klitschko to "super" champion, declare their title vacant and then open up their doors to offers to stage a fight for their "regular" version.

"This is a crazy, crazy situation," claimed Manny Steward, who was in Klitschko's corner for the Haye fight. "My fighter won the title but he's been made a 'super' champion or something since then; boxing will suffer if this type of thing keeps on happening."

It is not the first time in the last 12 months that a good champion has been upgraded, his title declared vacant and another revenue stream opened up by the sanctioning body, who receive a fee, desperate to match two fighters for their title.

Povetkin was withdrawn from a mandatory fight against Klitschko in 2009 because his backers, led by the outspoken American trainer Teddy Atlas, said that he was not ready for the fight. "I knew that if we waited something else would come along," said Atlas.

Ironically, tonight's fight is terrific but it simply does not deserve to be called a world title of any kind.