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Putin has recruited 7-foot tall boxer who fought David Haye to Russian Army

Gabriella Ferlita

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| Last updated 

Putin has recruited 7-foot tall boxer who fought David Haye to Russian Army

Vladimir Putin has recruited a 7-foot-tall boxer to the Russian Army.

The Russian president has enlisted the help of Nikolai Valuev - a 49-year-old boxer who holds the title of the tallest and heaviest world champion in boxing history - in the war against Ukraine.

Last Thursday (29 September), Russian publication Izvestia spoke to the retired boxer, who revealed that he was ‘summoned’ into the military office.

Valuev was the World Boxing Association’s world champion between the years of 2005 and 2007, and again in 2009 before being defeated by David Haye.

Putin has enlisted the help of Nikolai Valuev, 7-foot-tall boxer, into the army. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo
Putin has enlisted the help of Nikolai Valuev, 7-foot-tall boxer, into the army. Credit: REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

He told the outlet, according to an approximate translation: “I think everyone came. I also received a notice. I'm going to the military office now.

"The only thing is that my colleagues are great, they did it, they got on the military register in the State Duma and received a summons here, and I have to go home.”

The next step for the boxer is to head to the military registration and enlistment office before he can partake in official army duties. He says he'll do that sometime this week.

Dubbed as ‘The Beast from the East,’ Valuev lost his crown to the then-WBA heavyweight champion Hayes 13 years ago, who won by a majority points decision.

The 49-year-old boxer holds the title of the tallest world champion in boxing history. Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo
The 49-year-old boxer holds the title of the tallest world champion in boxing history. Credit: PA Images / Alamy Stock Photo

Elsewhere in the news of the war on Ukraine, terrifying photos of a Ukrainian prisoner of war had revealed the physical toll captivity had on his body. 

The images, which were shared by the Ukrainian defence ministry on 24 September show the harrowing effects that Russian captivity had on one soldier Mykhailo Dianov. 

In the first photo, Dianov looked fit and healthy as he posed in military gear. 

But the more recent photo, apparently taken after his release from captivity, showed the fighter’s diminished frame, which appears skeletal, gaunt and visibly weaker – his right arm contorted as if bent. 

Valuev lost his crown to the then-WBA heavyweight champion Hayes almost three years ago. Credit: A Images / Alamy Stock Photo
Valuev lost his crown to the then-WBA heavyweight champion Hayes almost three years ago. Credit: A Images / Alamy Stock Photo

“Ukrainian soldier Mykhailo Dianov is among the fortunate ones: in contrast with some of his fellow POWs, he survived Russian captivity,” Ukraine’s defence ministry wrote. 

“This is how Russia ‘adheres’ to the Geneva Conventions. This is how Russia continues the shameful legacy of Nazism.” 

However, CNN noted it was unable to verify the authenticity of the images, which have been widely shared and viewed by many on social media – including by US-based Ukrainian journalist Ostap Yarysh, who posted a slightly different 'before' image to illustrate the transformation. You can read more on that here.

Featured Image Credit: Zuma Press, Inc./Alamy PA/Alamy

Topics: Vladimir Putin, Army, Russia, Ukraine, Boxing

Gabriella Ferlita
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