Birthday: August 21, 1973
Age: 48 Years, 48 Year Old Males
Sun Sign: Leo
Also Known As: Nikolái Sergéyevich Valúev, Beast from the East, The Russian Giant
Born in: Saint Petersburg, Russia
Famous as: Boxer, Actor
Height: 7'0" (213 cm), 7'0" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Galina Valueva
father: Sergey Valuev
mother: Nadezhda Valueva
children: Grisha Valuev, Irina Valuev
Who is Nikolai Valuev?
Nikolái Sergéyevich Valúev is a Russian retired professional boxer, actor, politician, and author. One of the most decorated heavyweights of all time, he had been active in a professional capacity from 1993 to 2009. Born to parents of average heights (both 1.67 m tall), Valuev, towering at 2.14 m, took after his legendary Tatar great-grandfather, “a warrior giant of Russian folklore”. As a young boy growing up in the turbulent last years of Soviet Russia, he found the perfect outlet for all his pent-up energy in sports, playing water polo, basketball, and discus throw. He started to train in boxing rather late, when he was 20 years old. In 1993, he had his debut professional bout against John Morton. The victorious outcome of that match heralded a dominant career for Valuev who would win his first international title, the PABA Interim Heavyweight Championship, in 2000, defeating Yuriy Yelistratov via unanimous decision. He is also two times WBA Heavyweight Champion as well as one-time WBA-NABA Heavyweight Champion. He announced his retirement in 2009 following his defeat against David Haye. Since then, there have been several unsuccessful attempts to bring him back into the ring, but he seems to be perfectly content with his post-boxing employments, both as a Duma member for the United Russia Party, and as the host of the kids’ TV show ‘Good Night, Little Ones’.
Childhood & Early Life
Nikolai Valuev was born on August 21, 1973 in Leningrad (present-day St. Petersburg), Russian SFSR, Soviet Union, as the son of Nadezhda and Sergey Valuev. He was of normal height and weight at his birth but by the time he was in the first grade, he was already taller than his teacher. Growing up, it was not easy for him to play with other children, and yet he thrived in sports where his height gave him an advantage.
Despite his sluggishness, he was part of a basketball team that won the junior league national championship. He was also a competitive water polo player and was involved in athletics, particularly discus throw.
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Career & Later Life
At age 20, Nikolai Valuev took up boxing. After having his first professional match against American boxer John Morten in Berlin, Germany on October 15, 1993, and winning it, he turned amateur as that match was not initially considered as a professional contest. Trained under his future manager and promoter Oleg Shalaev, he won two silver medals at amateur championships in St Petersburg and Russia.
He participated in the 1994 Goodwill Games as part of the Russian contingent but was disqualified after his match against Morten was recognized by an international commission as a professional bout. By the time he turned professional, he had won all his 23 amateur fights, 16 of which were by knockout.
Between 1994 and 1996, he fought and won against five relatively weak opponents. From 1997 onwards, the competition became steep. On September 27, 1997, he defeated kickboxing legend Kevin Rosier with a brutal first-round knockout.
His first significant match came about on January 22, 1999, against Aleksei Osokin for the Russian Heavyweight Title. Dominating his opponent throughout the bout, he knocked Osokin out in the sixth round. Eleven months later, he successfully defended his Russian Heavyweight Title against Aleksei Varakin.
On June 6, 2000, he grabbed his first international championship, the vacant PABA Interim Heavyweight Title, after registering a comfortable win against Ukrainian Yuriy Yelistratov. Valuev would go on to win the vacant PABA Heavyweight Title against George “Terminator” Linberger on June 30, 2001.
On July 24, 2004, after a six-round war against Nigerian Richard Igbineghu, he won via technical knockout and was subsequently hailed as the new WBA Inter-Continental Interim Heavyweight Champion. Within three months, he registered a win against Italian Paolo Vidoz to become the new WBA Inter-Continental Heavyweight Champion. In the same year, he signed a contract with German promoter Wilfried Sauerland and his American colleague Don King.
Valuev made history when he defeated American John Ruiz in Max-Schmeling-Halle, Berlin, Germany on December 17, 2005, and won the WBA Heavyweight Championship. He was the first Russian ever to claim the most prestigious title in the heavyweight category in professional boxing. Following this, he retained his title in the matches against Jamaican Owen Beck, Americans Monte Barrett and Jameel McCline before losing it to Uzbek Ruslan Chagaev on April 14, 2007. This was the first loss in his career.
He met Ruiz for the second time inside the ring on August 30, 2008, in the same venue as before, and clenched the vacant WBA Heavyweight Title. He faced a 46-year-old Evander Holyfield in Zurich, Switzerland on December 20, 2008. Valuev triumphed over his opponent after a complete 12-round match, winning via majority decision, although many considered the final scorecard to be controversial.
Valuev’s title defence against British boxer David Haye was quite controversial as well. In the days leading up to the fight, Haye constantly mocked him for his gigantism and fighting style. The bout itself took place on November 7, 2009, in Germany and lasted a full 12-round, with Haye emerging as the victor. Three days after the match, Valuev announced his retirement. He is one of the very few boxers to have retired without a stoppage loss on their record.
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In 2010, he underwent two major orthopaedic surgeries to treat his severe bone and joint problems. Klitschko Brothers offered him a $2.5 million contract for a title match, which he declined due to the aforementioned health issues.
In 2006, Valuev appeared in his first screen role in the German fantasy-comedy ‘7 Dwarves: The Forest Is Not Enough’. In Filipp Yankovsky’s 2008 sports-drama ‘Rock Head’, he played Egor Golovin, a former boxer who suffers from Susac’s syndrome. The movie received critical praise and won the main prize at the Window to Europe film festival. He shared screen space with Dmitriy Nosov and Aleksey Orlov in his next film, the 2009 action-adventure ‘The Way’.
After joining the United Russia Party, he contested and won in the 2011 Russian legislative election, becoming a member of Duma. On September 17, 2012, he lent his support for the bill to stop American citizens from adopting Russian orphans.
He founded the Nikolai Valuev Boxing School in 2009, which has offices in St. Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast. On September 13, 2010, he established the Valuev Youth Sports Foundation, an initiative to promote physical exercise among Russian youth.
He co-authored his autobiography ‘My 12 Rounds’ with renowned Russian sports journalist Konstantin Osipov. In July 2016, he was hired as the host for the popular kids’ TV show ‘Good Night, Little Ones’ (Russian: ‘Spokoynoy nochi, malyshi’).
Awards & Achievements
On December 17, 2005, Nikolai Valuev won the WBA Heavyweight Title for the first time after defeating John Ruiz. He triumphed over Ruiz again to win the title a second time on August 30, 2008.
The Crystal Boxing Glove prize was conferred upon him by the Federation of Professional Boxing of Russia in October 2006.
He received the St. Petersburg Government Prize for his autobiography ‘My 12 Rounds’ in December 2007.
Nikolai Valuev courted his wife, Galina, with his own poetry. Married in 2000, the couple has three children, daughter Irina (born 2003) and sons Grisha (Grigoriy) (2007) and Sergei (2012). The family resides in St. Petersburg.
In January 2006, he faced accusation of assaulting a security guard at the Spartak Ice Palace in St. Petersburg. However, the local police never brought any charges against him.
An avid reader, Valuev’s favourite authors are Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Leo Tolstoy, and Agatha Christie.