Valuev Win Earns Another Title Shot

APRussia's Nikolai Valuev landing a left jab against Sergei Liakhovich of Belarus during their WBA heavyweight bout on Saturday in Nuremberg, Germany.
NUREMBERG, Germany -- Nikolai Valuev earned a shot at the WBA heavyweight title Saturday, beating Sergei Liakhovich in a one-sided decision between former champions.

The 2.13-meter-tall Russian, in one of his best performances, used his left jab effectively from the opening seconds to subdue the smaller fighter in the WBA eliminator bout.

Valuev (48-1) won 120-108 on two of the judges' scorecards and 120-107 on the other to earn a rematch against Ruslan Chagaev, the first to beat the Russian as a pro and the man who took away his WBA belt in April.

"I'm looking forward to the fight," Valuev said. "Ruslan Chagaev, we'll see each other soon."

Valuev's decision came against the fighter from Belarus who knocked out Lamon Brewster in a bruising battle to win the WBO title. Liakhovich (23-3) lost his title two years ago against Shannon Briggs on a last-second knockout despite leading on points.

Valuev, who was the tallest champion of all time, repeatedly scored with the jab, partially closing Liakhovich's left eye.

"Do you want us to quit?" Liakhovich's trainer Tommy Brooks yelled after the eighth round. "We don't have much choice if you keep standing in front of this guy."

The 34-year-old Valuev also rocked Liakhovich with hard rights several times. Never known for his mobility or boxing skill, he even threw flurries of combinations at several points.

"I did it better than before. I think we have changed a lot of things," said Valuev, who has a new trainer.

The win thrusts Valuev back into the heavyweight picture, where several unification fights are expected.

Valuev will face a tougher test against Chagaev, a quick fighter who forced him to trade punches in their last bout.

Liakhovich, 20 centimeters shorter, appeared simply overwhelmed by Valuev's size.

"He knew how to use his advantages," Liakhovich said. "I didn't have any answers. It wasn't my day."