By Alexey Sukachev
Nikolai Valuev, a State Duma deputy, has been here before and has done exactly that – which means being part of the hype and giving his take on high-profile fights.
A former two-time WBA heavyweight champion (and the first Russian ever to capture a portion of the heavyweight belt) weighed give his take on the biggest Russian boxing event this year – the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight final.
That contest will feature a four-belt battle between WBC/WBO champion Oleksandr Usyk (14-0, 11 KOs) and WBA/IBF unified champion Murat Gassiev (26-0, 19 KOs), which is about to take place on July 21 at the Olimpiyskiy Palace of Sports in Moscow, Russia.
“Look at how the tickets are being blown away and you will understand what this fight means for us. I think it’ll be the Fight of the Year. And I wouldn’t be able to name a favorite [to win]," said Valuev to Russian media.
“[The winner will] depend on who will impose his style and his will on the opponent. It also depends on the stamina and endurance of the two fighters. Most likely, Murat will be in attacking mode, offensive minded. Oleksandr will take his time to look for the counters. I bet the fight will be resolved during its second half. The chance it goes the distance is 35 percent," continued Valuev.
“This event will undeniably raise Russia’s image and perception in the world. It will take part in a historical place (Olimpiyskiy Sports Arena has been built for the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics), the venue will be sold out, and it will be broadcast worldwide.
"Another chance for my country to deliver it big. We shall once again state firmly how a show can be done by the Russians. We shall do it – undoubtedly – at the highest standard," concluded Valuev.