Universum’s “Trainer of Champions” Michael Timm will be back in the spotlight on Saturday night when his fighter, WBA heavyweight champion (in recess) Ruslan Chagaev takes on WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev in a long awaited rematch in Helsinki. Chagaev is one of five world champions currently trained by Timm. Here’s what he had to say when interviewed by boxing.de:
In 2007 you achieved your big dream [of training a world heavyweight champion] with the victory against Nikolai Valuev. What do you remember most?
The whole evening was gigantic, just beautiful. I remember that at that time, this guy was unbeatable for many people. Then he was beaten for the first time by a small heavyweight in Ruslan Chagaev, whom I trained. That was a very special moment for me, which I’ll never forget.
What is the situation now, two years later?
I am very impressed with my fighter. For one year he was out with an Achilles tendon tear, which is the worst injury that you can have as an athlete. He came back brilliantly. I was very impressed last autumn with how conscientious he was through rehab. Ruslan is very hungry and he will answer the injustice that befell him with his fists.
As a trainer, how much does the size difference worry you?
Well, that’s just the way it is. There are big and small people. But it does not automatically mean that a smaller boxer will have problems with a bigger boxer. Like we saw the last time, the bigger boxer had problems with the smaller. Ruslan has shown how it’s done and he will do it again. We are bringing many new things and we are well prepared. ”
The other side says that Ruslan seems tense. What’s your impression?
Ruslan has the healthy tension an athlete before competition. This is normal and good. But he is anything but nervous. He knows what he can do and will rely on his strengths. The fact, that the other side claims that he was boycotting the press training, I view as a psyche job. We were offered a separate press training session on Monday. Instead of a few stretching exercises, it seemed sensible that Ruslan just meet with Finnish journalists in a calm setting. He answered their questions for an hour. Sometime it’s enough said. We look forward to a great Saturday.