Former boxing world champion Nikolai Valuev has reportedly been rushed to hospital in mysterious circumstances.
The 7ft Russian man-mountain, who rose to prominence for his fight with David Haye, is a pro-Vladimir Putin politician and was even drafted to fight against Ukraine in September.
But Valuev was taken to a Moscow hospital on Thursday night, with The Sun reporting via Russian magazine Life that he was hospitalised after complaining about leg problems. His spokesperson Valery Kuzenkov has since shut down the rumours in a bizarre denial.
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Kuzenkov told the publication: "Nikolai Sergeevich jumps, dances. Yesterday he was in the State Duma until late.
“No one broke his legs, and no one put him in the hospital. He is alive and well, smiling and walking on two legs. Now he is at home."
Valuev took to social media on September 29 to publish photos of a summons letter to report to his nearest draft office, captioning the post: “If the Motherland calls, I will go.” There has since been no indication that he has in fact gone to Ukraine.
The 49-year-old’s last bout came against Haye in 2009 as he lost the WBA heavyweight title. He was treated for “serious bone and joint problems” in 2010 before announcing his retirement.
Valuev’s foray into politics came in 2011 as he joined the Russian parliament, or Duma, as a member of the Putin-backing United Russia party. It is understood that the colossus had to have a special chair made for him in parliament.
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