Giant boxer joins hunt to find abominable snowman

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The Independent Online

He's seven feet tall and 23 stone, but now he's going in search of an even bigger monster – Nikolai Valuev the former heavyweight boxing champion, is heading for the wilds of deepest Siberia to hunt for the abominable snowman.

"The Beast from the East", as Valuev was nicknamed during his fighting career, has set off for the Kemorevo region, 3,000km from Moscow, to spend two days seeking the yeti.

"Proof that the yeti exists appeared before the [Russian] revolution," Valuev said. "I am going on the expedition to make up my own mind."

But, he added, he was frustrated by the spin the local media was putting on events.

"For the past fortnight I haven't stopped being surprised by your wild fantasies," he said. "It's either 'Valuev goes in search of a female yeti' or 'Valuev challenges a yeti to a fight."

The regional government, meanwhile, is just as willing as the media to crack jokes. A spokesman said somebody had "suggested the snowman was actually Nikolai Valuev who had lost his way whilst skiing and now couldn't find his home."

Valuev, for his part, is not optimistic about his trip.

"We're adults," he said. "It's like finding the Loch Ness monster or Atlantis straight away."