Valuev wins WBA title with decision over Ruiz

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Russian giant Nikolai Valuev won the World Boxing Assn. heavyweight championship Saturday night, using his left jab to outpoint American John Ruiz in an unanimous decision at Berlin.

The fight was first declared a split decision, but the score was officially later changed to give Valuev all three of the judges’ votes.

The 7-foot Valuev (49-1) regained the title he lost to Ruslan Chagaev in April 2007 and beat Ruiz (43-8-1) for the second time.

The judges scored it for Valuev, 116-113, 116-111 and 114-113.


WBA delegate John Pack said one of the officials, ringside judge Takeshi Shimakawa, alerted him after the first split decision was read out that he too had given the fight to Valuev.

The decision wasn’t popular with everyone in the crowd, with some of the crowd booing the outcome.

Valuev, with a massive advantage in height, weight and reach, also won a disputed decision over Ruiz in December 2005.

“I thought I won the fight,” Ruiz said.


The scorecards were taken back and fourth from the ring several times.

Valuev landed a few big rights, but not enough to put Ruiz into trouble. Ruiz could not connect with more than one punch at a time.


Curlin rallies to win Woodward Stakes


Curlin won the $500,000 Woodward Stakes to move a step closer to defending his Horse of the Year title, beating longshot Past The Point by 1 1/4 lengths at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

The $300,000 winner’s share moved the Stonestreet Stable-owned Curlin past Skip Away as the second-leading money winning thoroughbred in history with more than $9.79 million and leaves him less than $200,000 behind Cigar ($9.9 million).

Curlin, ridden by Robby Albarado, ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.34 in en route to his fourth victory in five starts this year and sixth consecutive win on dirt.

The Steve Asmussen-trained horse was bumped and carried wide entering the first turn and followed a fast pace set by the runner-up, who ran the first six furlongs in 1:09.61, forcing the 1-4 favorite to make up almost 10 lengths in the last three furlongs.



Vacare, ridden by Corey Nakatani, beat Gotta Have Her and Kris’ Sis by half a length in the $200,000 Palomar Handicap at Del Mar.


Heptathlete receives lifetime ban for doping


Olympic heptathlete Lyudmila Blonska of Ukraine received a lifetime ban for a positive doping test after winning the silver medal at the Beijing Games.

The Ukrainian national athletics federation made the decision after the 30-year-old Blonska tested positive for a steroid -- her second doping offense. Blonska was expelled from the Games and her medal was officially revoked.


Olympic gold medalist Nastia Liukin was greeted by thousands of cheering fans at a welcome-home parade in her North Texas hometown of Parker.