From Russia with Glove: The Next Big Thing is…Giant!
Controversial Nikolay Valuev is boxing’s tallest and heaviest champion ever, and a hero in his home country.
Moscow, Russia: A new picture of a true heavy hitter now hangs on the molding wall of a small neighborhood boxing club in northwest Moscow right next to an older grainy photo of Stanislav Stephashkin, a 1964 Olympic featherweight champion who was one of Russia’s early representatives of international boxing notoriety and the current president of the club, which has been renamed in his honor. Although Stepashkin’s dwarfs this newer picture, the smaller picture is of a much larger man. That man is the next big thing in boxing to come from Russia.
The first thing that hits you right in the face when you walk into the club’s doorway is the super strong smell of athlete’s perspiration. A boxer becomes accustomed to the pungent odor wafting off most bodies in motion while working out in any gym, which tends to permeate into the very foundation, but in this particular Russian boxing club, the scent of sweat can almost make one’s eyes water, reminding all who enter of what it smells like to be a nastoyashi muzhik, a real Russian man! One look at 7-foot, 323 pound Russian-born Nikolay Valuev, 32, as he walks into the gym and there’s no doubt that he is indeed a real Russian man!
Crowned in 2005 as Russia’s first World Boxing Association heavy weight champion, Valuev recently defeated American John Ruiz in a controversial decision in Germany, which makes him the tallest and heaviest world champion in boxing history.
Fans say he’s so big he often enters the ring by stepping over the top rope! Some say he’s too tall for an opponent to even land an effective hook or cross to any higher than Valuev’s belly. Valuev also possesses an imposing 85-inch reach, making it much harder for most of his opponents to get away from him!
Nikolay Valuev is very famous in Russia, where he is a giant in his field and the kids literally look up to him as a hero. To the rest of the world he is known as the 'Beast from the East', but in his homeland, he is best known as the 'Russian Giant'.
Nikolay Valuev is frequently said to be surrounded by controversy. Even his recent return to his hometown of St. Petersburg was marred by incident. He has been accused of brutally beating a local security guard whom Valuev told authorities was treating his wife “rudely” as she was in the process of moving her car when she brought the couples daughter to her skating lessons. The 61 year old guard was hospitalized with a concussion and various bruises. Even though Valuev claims that he was only protecting his wife, a witness said that Nikolay “was holding the much smaller man by the jacket collar with his left hand, while he quickly and viciously kept hitting him on the head. Valuev’s eyes were so wild that I feared if I interfered, he would do me in, too. ” Witnesses also say that Valuev hit the smaller man about ten times in the head and even gave him a sharp uppercut to the chest, launching the man’s whole body flying and then landing hard.”
The Russian Boxing Committee is reportedly displeased by Valuev’s actions outside the boxing ring.
“It is rumored that American boxing promoter Don King wants to bill Valuev as ‘King Kong’ when he defends his title in the U.S.A. this year.”
Nikolay 'The Russian Giant' Valuev vs. John Ruiz