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Goliath vs David....Posted on Thu, Nov 19, 2009 at 8:12 am
by IDMA Editor
By Victoria Moore
The boxing world has never seen anything like it. Standing at over 7ft tall, weighing 23st and with a thick pelt of body hair, the gargantuan Nikolai Valuev is the tallest and heaviest world heavyweight champion in history.
The Russian is so physically formidable that his quailing opponents have been known to try to pull out of bouts - merely after encountering his monster size at the pre-fight weigh-in.
Incredible hulk: Nikolai Valuev at his training camp in Berlin ahead of his fight against Briton David Haye.
"No one told me I was taking on Bigfoot," cried one. And you can understand their despair. The so-called Beast from the East has lost only once in 52 fights (beaten by Ruslan Chagaev, a former WBA heavyweight champion from Uzbekhistan who rejoices in the nickname of White Tyson).
The next sacrificial David to try his luck with this real-life Goliath is a young British boxer called David Haye. On Saturday night, 29-year-old David will take to the ring in Germany to try to become the first Briton since Lennox Lewis to hold one of the heavyweight titles.
The fight will be shown live on Sky Box Office at 8pm - for an appropriately heavyweight price of £14.63.
As underdog, he says he has the support of the world as he takes on what he calls 'this big, hairy Russian fellow', promising 'one of the most jaw-dropping knockouts of all time'. David Haye stands next to the towering Russian Nikolai Valuev at a press conference in Maritim Hotel Nuremberg.
He adds: "I have watched The Lord Of The Rings and other films with strange-looking people, but for a human being to look like Valuev - it's pretty shocking. I've never seen a head that big."
"I'll often watch King Kong, Godzilla or Frankenstein. The more you watch regular humans being terrorised by oversized monsters, the more you accept this fight is not so scary."
As the British David prepares to challenge a man who stands nearly a foot taller than him and who has never been knocked down on the canvas in his 16-year professional career, the Mail looks at how the two men measure up. . .
ALSO KNOWN AS: The Beast From The East, The Russian Bear, Lurch, Shrek, Rock Man.
HEIGHT: 7ft 2in, making him a headbanging eight inches too tall to walk through the standard British doorway. However, he would still be overshadowed by the world's tallest man, China's Zhao Liang who measures 8ft 7in.
WEIGHT: 23st - similar to a small grizzly bear.
FIST: 14.5in. When they are outstretched, his enormous hands are the size of squash rackets.
WAIST: At 48in, the circumference is the same as the height of the average nine-year-old.
OTHER VITAL STATISTICS: A bull-like neck measuring 21.5in, a 52in chest, size 18.5 shoes (which means his feet are almost 15in long); a reach of 88in and you could fit four normal-sized men into his boxing shorts.
DIET: Inevitably, a man this size has quite an appetite. You've heard of the Yorkshire phrase: "I could eat a mucky bairn buttered"? Well, Valuev comes close; he used to eat 7lb of animal flesh a day (that's the equivalent weight of a newborn baby). However, he's had to cut down recently to become quicker and lighter on his feet.
In the run-up to the fight, his breakfast consists of mixed cereals, fruit and tea. Lunch is a half-pound steak, raw tomatoes and pumpkin; dinner is a boiled chicken - or fish - and steamed vegetables; and he snacks on gallons of tea and cucumber salad (minus the traditional Russian accompaniments of sour cream and paprika).
As part of his pre-fight routine, he has weaned himself off his love for sauces, spices and butter.
Nikolai Valuev towers over Jeff Powell at his training camp in Berlin.
SO, ANOTHER MEATHEAD? The man may look as if he'd come out on top if he got into a fight with a JCB, but h