Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Valuev-Chagaev Presser!

Photo By: Andreas Rosar

Undefeated WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev expects his first mandatory title defense to be business as usual. The Russian Giant (46-0, 34 KOs) comes face to face with top-ranked contender Ruslan Chagaev (22-0-1, 17 KOs) in Stuttgart on April 14. "The fight will be no different from my other bouts," Valuev said at today´s press conference in Stuttgart. "The fact that it will be my first mandatory defense does not make a difference at all. I take him very seriously. I´ve been in training for weeks."

Last Sunday, Valuev flew from St. Petersburg to Berlin to continue his preparations in the Max-Schmeling-Gym. "Together with my coach Manuel Gabrielian I have been watching tapes of Chagaev every day in order to work out the strategy for the fight," the 33-year-old added. "However, I can´t say anything else about my tactics or my opponent since he is sitting right next to me right now."

Chagaev´s camp remained tight-lipped on how they plan to overcome the gigantic height advantage of 11 inches. Yet the Uzbek challenger is confident he will be ready come April 14. "This is the biggest fight of my life," he said. "To have the chance and fight for the world title is the highlight of my career. I will do all I can to make the most of it. I have been working out very well and will be in top shape on April 14."

Sauerland sports director Hagen Doering admitted he was pleased that both Sauerland Event and Universum Box Promotion had found common ground during the negotiations. "It was good that both sides came to terms before the purse bid," he vowed. "Now we can focus on the boxing."

Tickets (starting at 35 Euros) will go on sale this Friday. They can be obtained on www.boxen.com.

After the press conference was over, Valuev wasted no time and immediately called his wife Galina in St. Petersburg. She had given birth to their second child - Irina - last week. Both Galina and Irina are doing fine and were allowed to leave the hospital today. "Now Grisha (5) has to get used to having a little sister," the Russian Giant smiled.

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