7ft Russian boxing champ Nikolai Valuev is mysteriously rushed to hospital weeks after he was drafted to fight in Ukraine
- Valuev, 49 and now a pro-Putin politician, was rushed to hospital on Thursday
- According to Russian media, he complained about problems with his legs
- Spokesman Valery Kuzenkov issued a bizarre denial to the reports, saying that ‘no one broke [Nikolai’s] legs’ and that he is ‘alive and well’ at home
- The former boxer later took to Telegram to tell followers that ‘everything is fine’
- Valuev was forced to retire from boxing in 2010 due to a brain tumour
Seven-foot ex-world heavyweight boxing champion Nikolai Valuev has reportedly been rushed to hospital weeks after being drafted to fight for Putin in Ukraine.
Valuev, 49 and now a pro-Putin politician, was rushed to a Moscow hospital late on Thursday after complaining of problems with his legs, according to Russian media.
Spokesman Valery Kuzenkov issued a bizarre denial, saying ‘no one broke [Nikolai’s] legs’ and that he is ‘alive and well’ at home.
Valuev also penned a note on Telegram to say ‘everything is fine’ and he will be on TV commenting on boxing on Friday, without denying that he was in hospital.
Seven-foot ex-world heavyweight boxing champion Nikolai Valuev has reportedly been rushed to hospital weeks after being drafted to fight for Putin in Ukraine
Valuev, 49 and now a pro-Putin politician, was rushed to a Moscow hospital late on Thursday after complaining of problems with his legs, according to Russian media. Pictured: A Ukrainian soldier fires an anti-tank missile at an undisclosed location in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, Thursday, November 17, 2022
‘Thank you all for your concern and well wishes. Everything is fine. We are working. Tomorrow fights on the first channel. As usual, I will comment on what is happening in the ring. See you on the First,’ he said.
Rumours of ill-health come just weeks after Valuev revealed he had been drafted to fight in the war in Ukraine.
He was forced to retire from boxing in 2010 due to a brain tumour.
Speaking to Russian news outlet Izvestia three weeks ago, he said he would ‘of course’ go to the front lines where Putin’s army is being pushed back by Ukraine amid reports of hundreds of deaths per day.
‘Next week I will definitely go and report to the enlistment office,’ he added.
But Valuev has remained in Russia, where Putin and defence minister Sergei Shoigu have now declared mobilisation to be over.
He has given no indication since then when – or if – he will be reporting for duty.
Members of Russia’s elite have dodged the draft, which has fallen predominantly on the poorer and more remote regions in the far east.
Spoof phone calls made by members of the opposition to the children of prominent figures – including the son of Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov – have revealed them confidently predicting they would never be sent to the front.
Meanwhile those who are mobilised have complained of horrific conditions, poor training, out of date equipment, and heavy losses on the front lines.
Valuev was a two-time WBA title-holder and is still the tallest and heaviest world champion ever. He weighed in excess of 23 stone in his fighting days.
at 7ft, Russia’s Nikolai Valuev is the tallest and heaviest world champion ever in boxing
Valuev famously fought David Haye in 2009 (pictured), losing to the Brit by majority decision
Ukrainian servicemen work disassembling a broken tank after it rolled over an anti-tank mine near Novopetrivka, Ukraine, November 17, 2022
Valuev made his professional fighting debut in 1993, and went on to compete in 52 fights, winning 50 of them – 34 by knockout. In 2005, he became Russia’s first World Heavyweight Boxing Champion.
He famously fought David Haye in 2009, losing to the Brit by majority decision.
That turned out to be his final fight, and he moved into politics to become a member of parliament in Putin’s United Russia Party two years later.
Valuev was treated for ‘serious bone and joint problems’ in 2010 and went on to have surgery which led to him being medically advised to call time on boxing.
The former boxer is also said to be obsessed with Bigfoot, and has spent many years scouring the wilds of Siberia searching for the creature.