The world super-heavy weight champion in boxing, Nikolai Valuev, came back to his hometown, Saint Petersburg from Berlin
In Berlin, Nikolai Valuyev and his wife were delivered to a plane by an individual bus. But that was the only difference between the world champion and the rest of the passengers. Like all other common people, Nikolai and his wife were flying economy class. People were not lining up to get the champion's autograph. Only one passenger recognized the world champion and asked Nikolai to sign his name.
The arrival of the giant boxer at St.Petersburg's Pulkovo-2 airport turned into a show. He got a heartfelt reception from the boys of a boxing school, city officials and members of a boxing association of St. Petersburg. Journalists and fans also made part of a welcoming crowd. Bunches of flowers were everywhere. Some foreign passengers of the same flight got startled when the people began to chant: “Kolya, thank you for the victory!” “Way to go, Nikolai!” Nikolai's wife Galina quietly sneaked toward the “exit” sign and disappeared leaving her husband all alone with the crowd.
“Thank you too,” said Nikolai. His voiced trembled a little. “I am back and ready for the new fights,” added he.
“What did you feel when they pronounced you the world champion?” a reporter asked.
“I felt a great relief. Winning the world championship was a dream I've been nursing since I became a boxer,” said Nikolai.
“You promised to knock Ruiz out, did you not?
“Speaking of a knock-out, my opponent happened to be a very tough guy.”
“Do you have any comment on Norman Stone, your opponent's coach, who tried to get a hold on your champion's belt?”
“The good old Russian saying indicates that you should not swing your fists once the fight is over. Taking away the belt would not resolve the problem.”
“What are your plans for the future?”
“I do not have much time but I will need to meet with so many people. Anyway, I will definitely earmark one of my free days for a hunting trip with my friends.”
Then a small foldout table with several champagne glasses filled to the brim arrived. Nikolai, blinded by camera flashes, raised his glass:
“Here's to Russia!”
“Kolya, would you like some vodka?” somebody asked.
“No, thanks a lot,” replied the hero with a smile and started walking to a parking lot. Nikolai and his wife went straight to Krasnoe Selo to rejoin their son Grisha and Nikolai'a mother who cooked some delicious meals including caviar-stuffed blini, an Olivier salad, and a saucepan of savory borsh, Nikolai's most favorite.
Nikolai cannot wear the world champion's belt that he won in Germany. The belt is too tight for the Russian giant, so Valuev decided to give it away to Ruiz like a present for memory.