Don King introduced his self proclaimed 8th Wonder of the World, Nikolai “Giant Russian” Valuev to New York City on Tuesday on the first of a four city press tour covering Chicago, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. The tour is promoting the WBA Heavyweight Champion Valuev, 44-0 (32), vs. Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett, 31-4 (17), at the Allstate Arena in Chicago on October 7, 2006 dubbed Big Red October.
King staged a grand entrance having both Valuev and Barrett stand aside a 7 foot replica of the Empire State Building through a smoke screen while he stood beside them waving both the American and Russian flags.
Valuev’s 7 foot, 325 pound size was immediately apparent standing near the 6 foot 3 inch, 225 pound Barrett. Valuev’s clenched fist even appeared to be nearly the size of Barrett’s head. Valuev is the tallest and heaviest world champion in history. He is so big that he steps over the ropes when he enters the ring.
King, who co-promotes Valuev with European based Sauerland Event, has been to Valuev’s last three fights witnessing him defeat Larry Donald (MD12), John Ruiz (MD12) from which he won the WBA title and Owen Beck (TKO3). King is excited about promoting him and has become a believer. “He is within a hand-span of tying the late great Rocky Marciano’s record of 49-0. He can and will bring great excitement to the ring. Valuev has improved with every fight and is dedicated and committed to becoming the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world.”
Barrett was the first to be introduced to the podium and addressed what happened to him in his fight with Hasim Rahman last summer. “I was 100-percent prepared. The day of the fight I had some personal problems. I learned my sister got stabbed and I had problems with my wife. After the Rahman fight I went around the world. I visited Africa and China (a trip he won as a contestant on the Price is Right game show). I am hungry and focused. I have already been in camp for five weeks. I'm 225 pounds right now and my heart is 224 of it."
Valuev then was introduced to the podium speaking through a Russian interpreter. His demeanor appeared very calm and relaxed. He was gracious in thanking Don King and Wilfried Sauerland for all they had done for him.
“I want to invite you to my fight in Chicago on October 7 because it's going to be something special. This is probably the last time you will see Monte Barrett and me smiling at the same time as our fight is five weeks away. I respect Monte Barrett and his camp. I have fought 44 times and have always gone back to my motherland in St. Petersburg a winner.”
King stole the podium again to let the media know that although Valuev speaks Russian he has been practicing his English. Appearing like a proud father he encouraged Valuev to take the podium once again and let everyone hear the English that he had been practicing. Valuev stood towering over King speaking a few sentences in Russian and then spoke his first English words, “Only in America”.