What happened to Nikolai Valuev?

The story about the ring of Nikolai Valuev finished on November 7, 2009 in Nuremberg, aged 36. So the british David Haye defeated him to close out a 50-win career (34 before the limit) and only two losses.

The film, for some scary, of the world champion of the highest heavyweight in history has come to an end. The ‘Russian Giant’, the ‘Mountain’, ‘The beast from the East’, a 2.13 meter high mass (and 2.16 meters of range, with what that entails) had capitalized on the expectation for several years in boxing, with more detractors than supporters, because since he achieved the World Association (WBA) belt in 2005 vs. John Ruiz He successfully defended it three times to lose it to Ruslan Chagaev, win it back again to Ruiz and retain it again against an Evander Holyfield (41 years old) on his downhill. Three years at the top of the queen category of boxing.


“I consider him a circus rarity that is in boxing, the ugliest human being I have ever seen,” David Haye had described. with contempt, the same one that many people showed him throughout his career. His primitive style, his physical appearance or the fact that he developed his career practically exclusively in Germany did not like in the United States. But the clever and controversial promoter Don King knew how to take out the piggy bank to take advantage of the media pull of ‘La Montaña’. An athlete who looks more like a tough ‘5’ basketball player in the Soviet team of the Tachenko and company than a boxer. Jab left and double right. Boooom! Little else was enough for him.

Valuev didn’t miss boxing after retiring. Far from the ogre image they built around them, he liked to read Tolstoy, write poetry (“just for my wife,” he said), and was interested in politics. In fact, won a deputy seat in the Russian Duma for the United Russia party, the group that led Vladimir Putin for president.

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A lover of hunting and fishing like Putin, in 2011 he embarked on a surreal adventure. Hunters claimed to have seen the mythical Yeti, the snowman, in the Siberian region of Kemerovo. And there Valuev traveled a few days in his search. “I think miracles only happen at Christmas and I doubt that the Yeti is going to hit the road and stop the van with open arms, but if I see him, I will tell him,” he told the BBC at the time. A propaganda maneuver (another) in his career to gain more popularity (and votes).

Fan of a popular children’s program in Russia, ‘Spokoynoy nochi, malyshi’ (something like ‘Good evening, little ones’), the ex-man from St. Petersburg was encouraged to present an episode. “It was my favorite show and my son’s”, he counted. The ogre, then, was more of a good giant.


A giant with health problems too. First, his weight of almost 150 kilos put his career in trouble. “Doctors say that Nikolai’s knees will not allow him to practice professional boxing for more than two years,” said his trainer, Manuel Gabrielan, in 2007. He lived with the pain and it was noticeable in his movements in the ensogado.

In 2019 he underwent surgery twice. One in Germany and one in Russia. Rumors pointed to a head tumor. But he clarified that it was not cancer. But of acromegaly, a hormonal disorder due to a disturbance in the pituitary gland. That is to say, the gigantism that made him grow so much in his youth and that in adulthood manifests itself in a growth of the bones of the hands, feet and face.

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