Nikolay Valuev makes the second defence of his WBA heavyweight title against American Monte Barrett at the Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois on Saturday night (Oct 7)
Below is a brief Q and A interview supplied by Valuev's promoters Saurland Event
Q/ Nikolay, you signed the contract with Sauerland Promotions three years ago. What were your hopes and objectives at that time?
Nikolai Valuev: At that point in time I had to face an important decision: Stop boxing or continue successfully. When Wilfried Sauerland contracted me it was a question of jumping at the chance. I wanted to show everybody how strong I am - of course having the thought of becoming the world champion at the back of my mind.
Q/ In December 2006 you achieved that ambition: You beat John Ruiz and you became heavyweight world champion. When you look back at that fight what are your thoughts?
Nikolai Valuev: I don't look back at times past - I always have a look ahead. Past is just important to realize mistakes and to learn from them for the future.
Q/ According to the experts you have been making steady progress since having fought against Ruiz. What is your motivation?
Nikolai Valuev: It's all about the goals I set myself. Success is important for motivation, too. At the moment there is a forward movement - that's it.
Q/ What does your coach Manuel Gabrielian mean to you?
Nikolai Valuev: Without him I wouldn't be in this place. He is one of the most important people. There is a strongly developed bond of trust between us. We are working together for many years. During the fight he gives me the kick I need.
Q/ At the end of August you took part in a promotional tour of the USA. How did you like it?
Nikolai Valuev: I really liked it. Unfortunately I couldn't see much of America because of a busy schedule. We didn't have the time for sightseeing. But people treated me openly and warmly. It has been a hard tour but we also had a lot of fun and many impressions to be remembered. There have been moments lost in thought, too, being at Ground Zero for example.
Q/ During the journey you have been driven around in a stretch limousine, you have been living at one of America's most beautiful hotels, you have been visiting Donald Trump. Have you been impressed?
Nikolai Valuev: I'm not a child any more. I know for sure that I just get everything because people want something from me. As soon as they don't need me any more all appearances will vanish. That's like a beautiful packaging for a bad tasting candy.
Q/What do you expect from the fight against Monte Barrett in America?
Nikolai Valuev: Every boxer should fight in America at least once - several times if possible. That's a different situation - not comparable to Europe. Above all I want to defend my title and put up a great fight.
Q/ You are in Chicago for a few days now. How do you like it and how is training?
Nikolai Valuev: I have already seen a few American cities but I like Chicago most. Maybe it is because of a certain similarity to my home town St. Petersburg. Both are situated near a big lake, both are big and cosmopolitan cities and people living in them have something special. Otherwise I became acclimatized and I have assimilated the time shift. I'm training two times a day. In the afternoon there is sparring. Things are perfect.
Q/In the world of boxing there is constant talk about equalling the legendary record of Rocky Marciano, who would be surpassed by you with 50 fights without being defeated. What does that mean to you?
Nikolai Valuev: Rocky Marciano was a great boxer, a legend. Of course I feel honoured when his name and mine are mentioned in one breath. And I believe my fans will be very pleased if I break his record. I work hard to achieve this aim.
Q/ What are your further objections?
Nikolai Valuev: First of all to defend my title. This is a goal that must not be underestimated. Secondly, I would like to win one, two or all three other titles. My third objection is personal. I want my family to be provided for well and I would like to have a good place in this world for my family and me.
October 3, 2006.
Information supplied by Saurland Event Proomtions