Day 4: Valuev In Chicago
01.09.06 - On the 4th day of his promotion tour through the USA Nikolai Valuev went ballistic two times already. The plane brought him to Chicago. A huge stretch limousine was waiting for the Sauerland team at the airport. The doors closed, a view through the black tinted windscreen on the imposing buildings – but then Nikolai had to vent his wrath in spite of the overwhelming impressions. “I accept all of that and I know that this stress is necessary”, the “Russian Giant” ranted and raved..
Article posted on 01.09.2006
“But first of all I´m a pro and the world champion. I wasn´t able to train fort two days but I have to do so to win the world championship fight. Under no circumstances things can´t go on like this.” A short and embarrassed silence followed – afterwards the easiest solution: Crisis meeting at the fashionable hotel “Conrad” in Down Town Chicago. And they were talking a lot. About the special days in New York and about the US Open which came into the program additionally. About the important visit to Donald Trump and finally about the sport being at the focus of attention. The solution: Two radio appointments have been cancelled the same day. The following morning in Los Angeles has been completely kept open for Nikolai.
However the champion had to absolve two further dates with big tv morning shows. The city was bathed in a golden light by the morning sun. Nikolai enjoyed the ride to the studios. At this moment it was 6.50 o´clock. At the studios of NBC 5 TV the moderators Dick and Allie already have been waiting for the “Russian Giant”. The broadcast has been transferred outside onto the Michigan Avenue because of the glorious weather. Not far away at the Michigan Lake roadworkers had a lot of their plate. So Nikolai first left a good impression at the broadcast and afterwards his footprint on the fresh asphalt as a little memory.
Afterwards Nikolai Valuev and his promoter Don King drove to WGN TV to be guests at “Mancow´s Morning Madhouse” which is one of the most famous morning shows of the USA. Moderator Pat visibly liked Don King´s hairstyle – he lead the broadcast with a Don King wig and had a lot of fun together with his guests. “When we look at your figure – does an opponent like Monte Barret have a chance?”, Pat asked the champion from St. Petersburg. But Nikolai did not let him read his cards. “Of course smaller boxers also have a chance. But I won´t divulge which one this could be.”
Now the hotel was waiting. And finally training was waiting, too which Nikolai had missed so much. First he went to the exercise room belonging to the hotel for two hours. Subsequently he considered the Lake Shore Athletic Club on the other side of the Illinois Street. “I´d like to live at this hotel for the fight in October,” Nikolai said. “From here it´s just a short way to go for training.”
After a short break the next sightseeing was waiting for Nikolai – the Sears Tower. The world´s fastest elevator brought him to the 103rd floor of the 488 meter high building being the third-largest free building of the world. The press conference at a dizzy height was the highest up situated one a boxer ever took part in. Don King opened the question time, introduced Nikolai, thanked Wilfried Sauerland and underlined a big common ground of both promoters.
“We both cut rough diamonds but we know their value exactly. And now we work hard for Nikolai capturing the American´s hearts.” Sauerland just could agree. “Niko has improved enormous during the last three years – in boxing and in tactics”, the manager tells. “He´s already a super star in Germany who gets ratings up to 40 per cent. We really look forward to the fight in October.”
Finally the evening´s star who had to absolve a shooting for Chicago Tribune at the metro before: “I´d like to introduce myself to you,” Nikolai said and talked about his life, about the modest background he grew up with, about his youth. During his youth he not nearly could imagine to go that far one day. “Like the Sears Tower. With a great view.” And what about America? „I like being here. Mainly the people´s sincerity and their openness they go up to me with.“
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