Published: Sep 09 12:40PM
Former world heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev is to lead a hunt for a mysterious creature known as the 'Russian Yeti'.
The 38-year-old fighter - who lost his WBA title to David Haye in 2009 - is currently on a career break as he recovers from bone and joint problems.
But his health issues won't stop him from leading a two-day mission to Siberia to hunt down the animal also known as the Kuzbass Bigfoot, a strange, humanoid creature thought to live in or around the Shoriya Mountains.
The beast has been spotted dozens of times in the Kuzbass region of southern Siberia and has become something of a tourist attraction in the local area, with hotels and restaurants naming themselves after it.
The mystery creature even has its own Twitter account, presumably set up by some bright spark at the local tourist board.
Valuev - who is, ironically, famous for his inhumanly large frame - has become so intrigued by the stories of the eight-foot, hair-covered monster that he is determined to find it.
"I would like to see firsthand what is going on," said the boxer, who has had all manner of injections and vaccinations ahead of his expedition to the remote region. "I'll draw my own conclusions once I've been there."
The first known traces of the Russian Yeti date back to 2005, when hunters found and photographed giant footprints in the snow.
Since then, the local council has been inundated with messages from hunters and hill walkers claiming to have spotted the beast.
And no doubt those imagined sightings will only increase when the 7ft, 23-stone Valuev is in the area.
Yet some remain sceptical of the boxer's chances of successly witnessing the creature. As one local put it, "Valuev might be about the same size as our Yeti, but I don't think it is going to come and see him because of that."