A new, rather late entrant for the GLBG Man of the Year Award has, I think, recently swum into my ken.
That man is Nikolai Valuev, the world heavyweight boxing champion from St. Petersburg, who is – as all fans of the fistic arts (even very dubious ones such as myself) will know- due to fight David Haye of London in Nuremburg on Saturday.
The point that immediately strikes one about Valuev is that he is 7’2″ tall and weighs 23 stone. What is less obvious is that is that he is a fan of Chekov and Dostoievsky. He wooed his no doubt lovely wife by writing poetry for her and apparently trains to the strains of “classical music”. His other hobbies are shooting and fishing, about which he talks in the following, rather charming, terms (slightly reminiscent of the Book of Leviticus)-
“Hunting is my hobby,” he said. “I fish everything that is swimming in the water, and I hunt everything that is flying in the air and stepping through the woods.”
He flashed that smile again, and added: “But I hunt only those fish and animals that I’m allowed to.”
David Haye, on the other hand, has, I’m afraid, clearly been ignoring my oft-expressed views about the inadvisability of making personal remarks, having said, amongst other things –
“He is the ugliest thing I have ever seen. I have watched Lord of the Rings and films with strange looking people but for a human being to look like he does is pretty shocking.” Not to mention “Valuev is the ‘Beast from the East,’ he has a very hairy body, if I am to fight him in the ring, he must shave himself before, otherwise he could really stink during close combat”.
This sort of trash talk is most unnecessary, and I’m sure you will all join me in hoping that Valuev whups Hayes’s arse come the weekend.
Another attractive aspect of Valuev’s character is his his very amiable approach in the ring, which seems to consist of ambling about, fending his opponent off and occasionally embracing him. Have a look, and see what you think (I’m drinking to his health already) –