Nikolai Valuev - EXCLUSIVE Interview with ESB

28.09.06 - By Izyaslav “Slava” Koza: On October 7th, Nikolai Valuev will be fighting for the very first time both in Chicago and on the cable TV channel HBO. He has already arrived in Chicago ahead of his scheduled bout with Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett, and is apparently by his admission, in terrific shape. As always, he was kind enough answer questions for our site.

ESB: Many fans who saw you here have told me they were very impressed by the shape you were more so then your height. Some have said this seems to be the best shape you are in over the course of the last few years. Would you agree with this even though you had stated you did not have a chance to train as much while in America?

Nikolai Valuev: Yes, I agree, I´m in a very good shape. I have trained very hard at the “Max Schmeling Gym” in Berlin after our trip to America and now we continue this program at the “Kienbaum” camp and it has been very successful..

ESB: About how much do you weigh currently?

Nikolai Valuev: One Hundred and Fifty Kilograms.

ESB: Tell us a little about your trip to America. Which city did you enjoy the most?

Nikolai Valuev: It was very nice, but unfortunately, we spent most of the time at the TV and Radio stations. So really, we should stay longer next time to look at America as a country. We have been to New York, Chicago and L.A.- and all of the cities were very impressive in their own right. If I had to choose, I would say that I liked Chicago the most. There are a lot of similarities with of St. Petersburg, my hometown; like the big lake around which the cities are situated. I liked Chicago very much.

ESB: You were at the site of the terrorist attacks on September 11th. Russia is not a stranger to terrorism as well with horrible acts perpetrated most notably in Beslan and Moscow. Do you think this level of tragedy somehow unifies Russia and America and makes the people more allied to each other due to mutual suffering?

Nikolai Valuev: Those attacks do make people closer to each other and yes there is a sort of connection, of course.

ESB: You met Sergei Lyakhovich in Los Angeles? Sergei has said he would like to fight you when he was on one of the local TV shows (FNF). Would you want that fight?

Nikolai Valuev: Yes, I met Sergei in L.A, at the pre fight party of the Toney vs. Peters bout. He is a nice guy and a very good fighter. Of course, I would like to fight with him, why not? However, as usual, that depends on the plans of my management.

ESB: Were you able to see your friend Roman Karmazin in LA?

Nikolai Valuev: No, I didn’t.

ESB: A while ago, Wladimir Klitschko’s Manager, Bernard Bonte, said a Klitschko vs. Valuev bout would not be very interesting outside of Germany. Do you agree or disagree and why?

Nikolai Valuev: I disagree, of course. I am almost positive our fight would be interesting everywhere.

ESB: The other champions right now are Maskaev, Klitschko, and Lyakhovich. Of those, who seems the strongest and why?

Nikolai Valuev: In my opinion, it's Klitschko because of his list of accomplishments.

ESB: What did you think of the Peter vs Toney fight? Who did you think won and why?

Nikolai Valuev: On points, I think Peter took it. However, from a technical expertise standpoint Toney was better.

ESB: Throughout your whole 12 year career, you were very often criticized and many people did not think you would succeed in the sport. Now, after you have the title in hand, the number of critics is probably less. Nevertheless, how important is it to have critics? Is it fair to say that without them, and people only telling you how good you are, you would have less desire to prove yourself and therefore a harder time in achieving your goals?

Nikolai Valuev: Having critics and criticism is very important. You get more motivated to show everybody what you can do in the ring. Still, I was always so much more criticized then praised, that I have become almost immune to it.

ESB: Boxers, like Bernard Hopkins, were in some part successful because they were “enemies” of fans and journalists. In other words, fans paid to see their opponent shut their mouth with their fists. Do you think fans think of you in the same way as the likes of Hopkins? Or do you think you are a fan favorite?

Nikolai Valuev: I’ve never seen Hopkins, but I think fighters should talk less. I don’t like to talk at all, I believe that I have to do.

ESB: Often boxers who have captured a title fall into a problem where it’s hard to find good opponents and have fights, often because its more difficult to negotiate with the better opponents. Of course, it’s good to be active and fight good opposition but this is hard to balance. What do you think is more important, fighting often or trying to only fight the best, no matter how long it is between fights?

Nikolai Valuev: This is very true, it’s not possible to fight often against the better fighters. If you fight, you should try to find a balance. However, fighting good opponents should be the ultimate goal.

ESB: You are the first boxer since Larry Holmes to come close to breaking Rocky Marciano’s undefeated record. Have you seen Marciano box on tape? If so, what do you think of him? How do you think fans will react if you do break this record?

Nikolai Valuev: Marciano is a legendary fighter, and I like him very much. I don’t know, I think my fans will be very happy about it, and perhaps his fans very sad and angry maybe.

ESB: What are you reading now and what are some of your favorite books?

Nikolai Valuev: Now, I’m reading a lot about the Russian history. I don’t have favourite books, I only have a favourite writer, and his name is Alexander Buschko.

ESB: I know you don’t like to talk much about yourself and your career, so the question is more about your family. Who did you name your son after? What do you love the most about your son and your wife?

Nikolai Valuev: I just liked the name that’s all. My son is my son, that’s why I love him and well my wife, Galina, is my best friend, and I love her reliability.

ESB: Thank You and Congratulations Nikolai, we can’t wait to see you on HBO.

I would like to thank Heiko Mallwitz from Sauerland Events for help in granting and getting this interview.

On the Horizon, an interview with the lone semi-famous professional fighter from my native Moldavia, Ivan Gontsa.

Article posted on 28.09.2006

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