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Freitag, 2007-01-12

Valuev interview (English)

"McCline is bigger, heavier and more experienced than all of my previous opponents" - The Russian Giant
Just one week until Nikolai Valuev, the biggest and tallest heavyweight champion of all time, will be stepping over - not through - the ropes to face fellow giant Jameel McCline in Basle, Switzerland. The third defense of his WBA belt will be the toughest fight of his career, he said in an interview with The Russian Giant also shared his thoughts on a potential showdown with Wladimir Klitschko. Nikolai, in one weeks time you will defend your heavyweight WBA
title against Jameel McCline. How has the preparation been going so far?

Nikolai Valuev: We are right on course. The foundations have been laid with
Manuel Gabrielian in St. Petersburg. At the end of December, I started sparring
in Berlin and everything has gone according to plan so far. The finishing
touches ahead of the fight will then be made in Switzerland. You also reportedly did not even take a break for the Russian
Christmas celebrations on January 6/7, is that correct?

Valuev: Yes, that is right. I didnt have any time for that. It was
important that I stuck faithfully to my training schedule with two weeks to
go before the fight. I did get to celebrate a little with my family for New
Year, though. They came over to Berlin especially from St. Petersburg. But
on New Years Day, I was back in the gym sparring.

Nikolai Valuev along with coach Manuel Gabrielian It seems you are taking your third title-defence very seriously.
Is that because Jameel McCline is your opponent?

Valuev: I take every opponent seriously and prepare for every fight with a
high level of concentration. However, McCline is a special case. Why is that?
Valuev: He is more experienced, bigger and heavier than all my previous
opponents. He is a good boxer and I have a lot of respect for him. The fight
will be very, very interesting. So how will the fight go?
Valuev: We will have to see, but I will certainly leave the ring triumphant. Rumour has it that your sparring partners are frightened of you…
Valuev: There are people who say sparring with me is suicide. You would have
to ask them whether that is right, but I could find other sparring partners

Valuev vs. McCline: Battle of the Giants You recently had an extra special visitor at your evening
training session…

Valuev: Yes, my wife Galina and I brought my son Grisha along to sparring,
but it was all a bit too much for him. He was very nervous and always came
to give me water and the towel during the breaks. Then he said to me "Dad,
let him fall". Otherwise he would have done it. He is still too young for
this. He will not be at the fight in Basle. A heavyweight contest has never been staged in Switzerland
before. Are you looking forward to making Basle the boxing capital of the
World for a night?

Valuev: Definitely. That is something really special. I am really looking
forward to Basle. The people there were very kind to me at the press
conference in December and I hope it will be like a home fight. I like the
countryside and would like to see the mountains and forests. Three of the four heavyweight World Champions come from the
former Soviet Union. A lot has been said of a new Russian revolution. What
do you think about that?

Valuev: This development does not surprise me in the slightest. It is simply
the case that the time has come - it is our turn now. Since the breakdown of
the Soviet Union, many boxers have taken the opportunity to head west and
have trained there. By doing so, they have gained valuable experience. On
the one hand, we are influenced by the Russian school, but on the other hand
we can implement this newfound knowledge. That is the secret of our success. How do you assess the heavyweight situation at present?
Valuev: All four champions have worked hard and deserve their title. They
have made many sacrifices for success and time will tell who is the very

Valuev is looking for the 46th win of his career. The whole boxing world is hoping to see the Valuev - Klitschko
fight. Do you want to fight against him?

Valuev: I have said it many times before: If Wladimir wants to get it on,
then I am ready at the drop of a hat. But at the moment, all I am thinking
about is McCline. Then we will see what the mandatory defense brings. If
I manage it, then we can think about Klitschko. That would definitely be a
stern test for me and I would be proud to win it. Where should such a fight take place?
Valuev: Preferably on neutral territory. You are just four wins short of equalling the record set by Rocky

Valuev: That would be fantastic, but I am just looking from fight to fight.
That is quite interesting, though. First I want to equal the record, and
then smash it - that is my aim.