Holyfield plans to quit boxing in 2009, hopes to fight Valuev

MOSCOW, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - Former U.S. heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield announced plans to hang up his gloves in 2009, adding that he hoped to fight Russia's Nikolai Valuev, a U.S. newspaper said on Thursday.

Last month Nikolai Valuev, dubbed The Russian Giant, (49-1, 34 KOs) regained his WBA heavyweight champion's title after defeating former two-time WBA heavyweight champion, John Ruiz, (43-8-1, 29 KOs) in the German capital Berlin.

In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper Holyfield, who is reportedly paying up to $500,000 a year in child support for nine of his 11 children from previous marriages, said he viewed the bout with Valuev as an additional source of income.

But Holyfield, four times heavyweight world champion (42-9-2, 27 KOs), added that no formal agreement with Valuev's promoters on the bout had been finalized.

If the American, who lives and practices in Atlanta, Georgia, fights Valuev and wins, he will become the oldest heavyweight world champion at the age of 46.

Holyfield's last fight took place in October last year, when he failed to snatch the WBO heavyweight crown from Russia's Sultan Ibragimov.

The seven-foot (2.13-meter) Valuev became Russia's first world heavyweight champion in December 2005 when he defeated Ruiz. In April last year he lost his title to Ruslan "White Tyson" Chagaev from Uzbekistan.

Since then Chagaev has defended his title once, but a torn achilles tendon forced a delay in his mandatory challenge bout against Valuev. On July 4, the WBA decided to sanction a match against the Russian's closest contender, John Ruiz.

Chagaev is currently what the WBA calls a "champion in recess," and Valuev will now have to face Chagaev before June 26, 2009, if the Uzbek manages to get fighting fit by then.

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