By Scott Shaffer
Newly minted WBA heavyweight champion Nicolay Valuev is involved in litigation with a former promoter, but according to his attorney, the court case is no longer an obstacle to the seven footer fighting on American soil. In 2001, Valuev signed a contract making Joseph O'Donnell's Top Glove Promotions his American promoter, but after just one fight, the relationship soured and O'Donnell sued him. By 2002, a New Jersey court granted a default judgment barring Valuev from fighting in America without O'Donnell's permission. Valuev, who was busy campaigning in Germany under the banner of Sauerland Event, evenutally retained Patrick English as his attorney and argued that he was never properly served with the legal papers. Almost exactly one year ago, District of New Jersey Judge Jerome Simandle agreed and vacated the injunction. Although the lawsuit is continuing, Simandle added in his December 2004 order that O'Donnell's contract with Valuev violated the Muhammad Ali Act because it gave him both managerial and promotional rights. As a result, O'Donnell is free to pursue his claim that Valuev owes him monetary damages, but as it now stands, Valuev is permitted to defend his title in the U.S. under his current co-promotional arrangement with Sauerland and Don King Productions.