Status: Former WBA Heavyweight champion.
Ht: 7-0 Wt: 320
DOB: Aug. 21, 1973 In: St. Petersburg, Russia
Interesting Fact: “I like to compose poetry. They are personal and I don’t discuss them.” (Getty Images)
Childhood Heroes: “Moogli from The Jungle Book. Russian heroes from Russian movies.”
Hobbies/Interests: “I like cars. Reading. I’m outdoorsman, I like fishing, hunting in the forests around St. Petersburg. We meet outside the city, a group of us. And it’s a big deal for all these people to be able to finish their jobs and meet friends who share a common interest, a passion. Some of us are sportsmen, some of us are in the military. But the hunt brings us together. I think it’s important to meet up with your friends, do things together and share some kind of adventure.”
Nicknames: Head, Giant, Russian Giant, Don King’s Kong, 8th Wonder of the World.
Favorite Movies: “War and Peace, Alexander Nevsky, Details of National Russian Hunting.”
Favorite TV Shows: “What, Where, When?, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”
Musical Favorites: “Yunona and Avos.”
Favorite Authors: “Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Tom Clancy, Jack London, Tolstoy.”
Early Boxing Memory: “I started boxing in spring of 1993 when I was 19. It was difficult for me to develop in boxing at that late age. Almost every boxer in the world first learns boxing as a boy. For me, everything was new — running, skipping rope, punching the big bag, working the speed bag, sparring, even shadow boxing. I had never thrown a punch in my life. This was a new world for me and I became addicted to it immediately. My debut in the ring took place on the 15th of October 1993 in Berlin, Germany. This day I fought with American John Morton. I won the fight in knockout in second round. It was then I decided to go deep into boxing.”
First Job: “When I first start boxing, I worked security at a restaurant at night.”
First Car: “Mercedes.”
Favorite Meal: My mom’s borscht (beetroot soup) and caviar stuffed blini (pancakes).”
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “Chocolate.”
Pre-Fight Feeling: “Nirvana.”
Greatest Boxing Moment: “The fight between Hagler and Leonard. (What was your greatest moment?) When I won the WBA title against John Ruiz (W12 in Dec. ’05). I worked 12 years for this moment. I excuse myself for not having the most beautiful performance, but the most important thing is that I won the decision and the title.”
Most Painful Moment: “Low blows — (suffered) in fight with Gerald Nobles (’04).”
Worst Injury: “I will not say this.”
Favorite Boxers To Watch: “Ali, Lennox Lewis, Oscar De La Hoya, Kostya Tszyu.”
Favorite Fight(s): “Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman.”
Childhood Dream: “To become a sailor.”
Interesting Fact: “I like to compose poetry. They are personal and I don’t discuss them. I’m a boxer, not a poet. All I will tell you is that they were written for (his wife) Galina and she did not throw them back at me [smiles]. She has all the poems still.”
Embarrassing Boxing Moment: “I did not have such an experience.”
Funny Boxing Memory: “When I try the ‘Ali Shuffle’ (in Ruiz fight — Muhammad Ali was in attendance).”
Favorite Vacation Spot: “Being in the forest — out of town.”
Favorite Non-Boxing Sport(s) To Watch: “Rugby.”
Quote: “I know that I have become the first Russian boxer who managed to become a heavyweight champion. I also realize that it’s not the point where I can stop. The most important thing for me at the moment is not to catch the star disease. I have to keep going and master my skills further on to climb another mountain.”
People Qualities Most Admired: “Loyalty, truth, sense of humor.”
Family: Wife, Galina; two children.
Translation provided by Petra Schneider.
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