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Valuev Talks Haye vs Chagaev, Klitschko vs Solis, More

Russian Boxing Chronicles. Part 0. Nikolay Valuev

By Christian Yula and Alexey Sukachev (translation)

With a new year slowly coming into its own, isn’t it a nice time to start something totally new? The Eastern European squad of BoxingScene.com, feeling that this year is going to be another breakthrough for fighters from the former USSR, begins a new series of articles, dedicated to post-Soviet boxing and its best representatives. We shall cover both its exterior and interior going deep to famed champions of the past and giving a detailed look at what is going on right now.

The first part (or it’s better to call it the zero part for some reasons we shall mention later) is about the first ever Russian heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev. BoxingScene’s Christian Yula met former two-time WBA titleholder in St. Petersburg on the eve of the New Year to speak briefly and exclusively about him and mainly about Nikolay’s side impressions of the last year. As always, the Russian champion wasn’t very pleased to speak about his future but found some time for other questions and remarks.

- Nikolay, your fellow townsman Roman Karmazin has recently ended his pro career with a notable record: 40-4-2, 26 KOs. He was unable to end it well though and sadly he finished his own way as a loser.

- It’s sportsman’s fate. You should end it sooner or later and, unfortunately, Roman isn’t an exception. We became champions the same year (2005), but in 2010 the time came to hang’em on. But Roma has done what he should nevertheless by becoming world’s best fighter at his weight class even though it for a brief moment.

- I cannot help but ask you about his fight versus IBF middleweight champion Sebastian Sylvester which ended in a horrible draw… and scandalously so.

- I said it before several time and I’ll repeat it now – Roman won that fight in Neubrandenburg fairly, and the final verdict of two judges around the ring cannot be considered anything else than a shameful outrage. Sadly, Karmazin won’t have another chance to erase his bad memories.

- Let’s speak about cruiserweights then. There’s a pleiad of talented Russian fighters in that weight class. One of them is 2008 Beijing heavyweight gold medalist Rakhim Chakhkiev. Do you think he will prove himself skilled and durable enough to become a champion in the future?

- I think so. Rakhim is a real fighter and his skills are proved over time and space and he has been through the mill. Given his dedication, he will be able to achieve what the Olympic champion should be dreaming of, if he retains his fire and internal desire.

- Denis Lebedev is considered by many to be the best Russian fighter at 200lbs. He came out as a star the last two years but was controversially decisioned by Marco Huck in their December encounter. Was it a fair decision? Do you agree with it?

- No, I don’t! It was a draw at very least. In my mind, Denis was just a bit inexperienced to take the German fighter out. He has never boxed over twelve and he hasn’t had enough practice of such a work. He would have finished Huck otherwise. But he shouldn’t be ashamed of himself. He is quite young and his character is there. I’m sure he will have a chance to avenge this loss and to defeat Huck the other time he will be at championship’s vicinity.

- Lebedev’s head coach Valery Belov was very hard on the final outcome. He has also said that at his advanced age he is finished with training and Denis would go on without him.

- I’m sure he will re-think it. He was very disappointed with that loss. It was a shot in the head for him. But it’s what coach is always at during and after competitions. Personally, I know what Valery thinks about it. And I fully agree with his take on judges’ decision.

- Nikolay, the next question is about heavyweights. Denis Boytsov turns 25 on St. Valentine’s Day. Do you think it is his time to shine?

- No, I can’t say this.

- So, he still isn’t ready for serious collisions, is he? Is he too raw for them?

- I cannot fully agree with your latter definition either. He is quite successful, and his record speaks volumes about his skills and his talent. But he is in the same position with Rakhim Chakhkiev. He should fight more often, earn XP points and work hard on that. But he is very crude and very durable. He has everything in his hands and hands of his management. But his has every chance in the world to become a champion in the future.

- Denis is ranked #2 by the WBA. #1 here is Uzbek Ruslan Chagaev, who is also your former opponent. He is now an obligatory challenger for the world title and…

- You want to know my opinion about his possible clash against WBA champion David Haye, right?

- Absolutely!

- Let’s put it that way. I don’t think Ruslan has much of a chance to fight David Haye just because he isn’t a good choice for the champion from the financial standpoint. Haye isn’t interested in Chagaev.

- But what about sportive principles?

- That’s true. But there are various subtle cases which can prevent those two of facing each other in the ring. Haye has a weighty reason to cancel the fight because Chagaev’s health isn’t perfect. I don’t think Ruslan will be allowed to compete in the United Kingdom. And Haye, definitely, won’t travel for this fight in Germany.

- What if the neutral host is selected?

- Does he need a neutral roof? David Haye is a champion and he will dictate Ruslan what to do and where to come. Given that, I consider chances for that fight to occur negligibly small to say the least.

- Nikolay, tell us your opinion about Alexander Povetkin’s last fight. He injured his right hand and fought American heavyweight Nikolay Firtha literally with his left.

-And he was able to box his ears off with that left! That was well done! He was under complex circumstances but he found a way to re-group himself and to shine through the pain. It’s agreed upon that Firtha is by no means a stellar fighter but he is a heavyweight, who can end the fight in a second with something really big, and Alexander did just fine to avoid any unnecessary damage. He fought in such a way that the American simply got no chances to outbox him.

- Alexander has a lot of fans in Russia, and they all want him to become a champion of the world, and nothing lower than that.

- I know, what you want to hear from me, but I don’t think it’s a proper way for me to speak about it. His title fight is linked with one of Klitschko brothers, so I don’t think there’s any need for me to speak anything about it.

- Well, ok. But can you tell us do you consider Alexander Povetkin to be the best Russian heavyweight at the present time?

- Yeah, that’s for sure. He is clearly the best and he is now at the very top of his career.
- During the last boxing weekend of December, Odlanier Solis defeated Ray Austin by way of DQ in the WBC final eliminator…

- When is the approximate date of his fight with the elder brother?

- It’s March.

- March… Speaking of the Cuban Olympic champion I think that this mandatory challenger isn’t a desirable option for Vitaly. He has a good speed and reflexes, which is more convenient for the younger brother than for the Big brother.

- Do you mean his fast hands?

- Absolutely. Solis is very quick.

- Skeptics keep saying that though undeniably talented, former amateur superstar is also very laze and it affects his discipline and creates some weight issues.

- I don’t know much about Team Solis, their methods and their training camps but championship fight is a championship fight, and Odlanier Solis will be in his best shape possible for such a fight.

- If he is close to his tip-top shape, can Solis create problems for the champion?

- Solis is an ultra-experienced type. His amateur record speaks tons of his talent. He can force a fight he wants. But his chances will also depend highly on his physical and psychological shape at the time of the fight. Brothers can do a large homework and sap his energy and fray his nerves through numerous pressers, ideology and so on. Speaking of other disadvantages in a fight with Vitaly, he doesn’t have only weight issues; he is pretty short for this weight class which can become Klitschko’s biggest advantage.

- With this conversation coming to a close I need to ask you about your personal future plans. Will you continue your career?

- I haven’t announced anything in regards to the end of my career. You can deduce the rest.

- You are known not only as a boxer but also as an actor. I have talked to your good buddy Mikhail Porechenkov about you movie debut and his reference was very warm. He has even said that he would be honoured to be filmed with you. Can we hold our breath for anything new with you participation?

- No, I don’t have it for me in the closest future.

- Rumors are held that you are also starting your political career. Is there any truth to this?

- It’s not rumors. I’m working in political field. That’s true.

- Can you tell us the latest and greatest on it?

- No, I won’t. Time should pass, and then you will learn the details.

- Nikolay, thanks greatly for your time. BoxingScene wishes you the Happy New Year to come. We wish you all the best in 2011.

- Thanks greatly. I want to address boxing fans and BoxingScene readers all the best as well. And be healthy, please!

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by maverock on 01-07-2011

Valuev as eloquent and classy. Valuev will one day be referenced in line with Louis, Ali and Lewis.

Comment by chav on 01-07-2011

i agree with you guys, he comes across a real class act & a gentleman.

Comment by Bajingo on 01-07-2011

The Sugarman classy as ever.

Comment by paulf on 01-07-2011

Nikolay is a classy classy guy. I like how he shut down Boystov though, ha.

Comment by WladIsTheChamp on 01-07-2011

Valuev has confirmed what everyone here has already said, Haye will use Chagaev's Hep-B to duck him.

Post a Comment/View More User Comments (5)
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