Ruslan Chagaev stripped of heavyweight title by WBA

Ruslan Chagaev has been stripped of his version of the heavyweight title for failure to pay outstanding sanctioning fees.

Chagaev held the WBA's "regular" title (the secondary belt to world champion Tyson Fury). He was stripped because, according to the organization, he and promoter Timur Dugazaev have repeatedly failed to pay $40,750 in sanctioning fees related to Chagaev's majority decision victory against Fres Oquendo to win the vacant belt in July 2014 in Grozny, Russia.

In the WBA resolution stripping Chagaev this past Friday, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, the organization cited its rule stating that failure "to comply with payment of applicable fees due" is grounds for being stripped.

"Additionally, failure of a promoter to pay all applicable sanction fees may result in suspension or revocation of privileges to promote or otherwise be involved with WBA sanctioned bouts," the resolution continued.

The WBA said it sought payment multiple times and had no choice but to vacate the title when there was no response.

"In light of Chagaev and his promoter's failure to pay the full sanction fees due for the Chagaev-Oquendo bout after multiple demands and opportunities to do so, Chagaev's recognition is hereby removed and he shall further be removed from the ratings. Neither Chagaev nor his promoter, Timur Dugazaev, may participate in or promote WBA sanctioned events.

"Upon receipt of the past due fees, plus applicable interest, Chagaev and his promoter's privileges may be reinstated, subject to conditions, and Chagaev may again be eligible to be rated."

Chagaev's hold on the belt was shaky to begin with. After he defeated Oquendo, he defended the title by first-round knockout of Francesco Pianeta last July.

But in March, Chagaev, who was in full control of a defense against Australia's Lucas Browne in Grozny, suffered a dramatic 10th-round knockout loss. However, after the fight Browne tested positive for clenbuterol, a banned substance.

Browne was stripped of the belt and it was returned to Chagaev, a 37-year-old southpaw from Uzbekistan.

Chagaev was next due to give Oquendo a court-ordered rematch. The WBA said one of the conditions of that fight going forward was that Chagaev and Dugazaev would pay the outstanding sanctioning fees.

After several attempts seeking payment "on July 7, 2016, the WBA's counsel wrote to Chagaev and his promoter, Timur Dugazaev, making final demand for payment of past due sanction fees resulting from the Chagaev-Oquendo bout and subsequent litigation," the resolution said.

"The deadline for receiving said fees was July 14, 2016, and the WBA received no such payment. As a result, Chagaev and his promoter are in breach of WBA rules and subject to sanction, including, but not limited to, removal of recognition and authorization to participate in WBA sanctioned bouts."