Former world heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev led a hunt for the ‘Russian Yeti’ - and claims to have found him!
The 38-year-old fighter – who lost his WBA title to David Haye in 2009 – is currently on a career break as he recovers from bone and joint problems.
But his health issues didn’t stop him from leading a two-day mission to Siberia to hunt down the animal also known as the Kuzbass Bigfoot, a strange, humanoid creature thought to live in or around the Shoriya Mountains.
The beast has been spotted dozens of times in the Kuzbass region of southern Siberia and has become something of a tourist attraction in the local area, with hotels and restaurants naming themselves after it. The mystery creature even has its own Twitter account.
Valuev – who is, ironically, famous for his inhumanly large frame – has become so intrigued by the stories of the eight-foot, hair-covered monster that he was determined to find it.
“I wanted to see firsthand what is going on,” said the boxer, who has had all manner of injections and vaccinations ahead of his expedition to the remote region. “I’ll draw my own conclusions once I’ve been there.”
Well, he found him. Valuev reportedly spotted the Yeti, chased him down and punched him. ”But the beast just took my punch and… ran off,” said Valuev,
“At least, I know he is real. I’ve punched him. That’s real.”
The first known traces of the Russian Yeti date back to 2005, when hunters found and photographed giant footprints in the snow.
Since then, the local council has been inundated with messages from hunters and hill walkers claiming to have spotted the beast.
And no doubt those imagined sightings will only increase know that the 7ft, 30-stone Valuev has punched him.
Yet some remain sceptical of the boxer’s chances of successly witnessing the creature. As one local put it, “Valuev might be about the same size as our Yeti, but I don’t think it is going to come and see him because of that.”
Here’s a footprint. Is it a Yeti footprint or a Valuev footprint?