2008-01-19 Ruslan Chagaev w pts 12 Matt Skelton, Castello Castle-Keeper Arena, Dusseldorf, Germany - WBA
Whilst preparing for a defence against Nikolay Valuev on 5 July, the fight was cancelled when Chagaev suffered a complete tear of an Achilles tendon in the final week of training. With Chagaev given the title of ‘champion in recess’, the two leading contenders, Valuev and John Ruiz, were selected to meet for the vacant title.
Having returned from injury with a sixth-round technical decision win over Carl Davis Drumond at the Stadium Hall, Rostock, Germany on 7 February 2009, Chagaev was lined up to meet Valuev in Finland on 30 May 2009. Although Chagaev failed the Finnish medical tests, allegedly due to hepatitis, it did not stop him from stepping in at short notice to take on Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF/WBO versions of the title on 20 June after David Haye had picked up a late injury. Thus it was no surprise that he lost his 'champion in recess' status with the WBA on losing to Klitschko.