Over the next two days, WBA heavyweight champion (in recess) Ruslan Chagaev will finish his intensive preparation and sparring. Then on Sunday, he and his team will arrive in Helsinki, Finland to make final preparations for his May 30 clash against seven-foot WBA champ Nikolai Valuev in the Hartwell Arena. “The sparring was naturally hard and strenuous, but also quite fun,” said Chagaev. “Due to the size of Valuev, one must always make special preparations. Like last time, I sparred with a group of four giants, my basketball team, with a combined length of over 26 feet.
There’s Julius Long, who I think is three inches taller than Valuev. Then, Pedro Carrion, at 6?7 from Cuba and the Canadian Raymond Olubowale, who is called “Mount Kilimanjaro” because of his size. Sometimes we played basketball to loosen up. A ‘basketball team’ to prepare, it couldn’t have been better. I also had another very experienced sparring partner in Larry Donald, who in the opinion of the experts actually won in his world championship fight against Valuev. He knows how to beat him.”