You punch really big guys for a living. And big guys punch you. Do you not mind getting hit?
I don't like to get hit. Who likes it? I probably wouldn't do this sport if I was getting hit that much. I lost three fights out of 60. That's why my brother [fellow heavyweight champ] Vitali and I are getting criticized, that the fights are very boring because they're one-sided.
Mike Tyson said you guys are not emotional enough.
I think Mike Tyson's right. We are effective, and emotion when it goes up and down, back and forth, one side, other side--you cannot be successful for a long time if you're gonna do those fights. So we will continue to fight in the same way, and I will continue to defend my titles the same way.
How different are you in the ring from how you are now? Do you have to work at getting more aggressive?
I would compare it to an actor. I drive myself into the character that later on is in the ring through five, six weeks of the training camp. But aggression means emotions. Emotions mean you get off your plan, and that means you're going to lose the fight. You have to be cold-blooded. And you have to just execute your game plan. Everything else, all emotions, you have to put aside.
What about if you're watching your brother fight?
I hate it. And I can't imagine how worried my brother is when I'm fighting. When I'm in the ring, my pulse is probably 50, 60 beats a minute. And when my brother's standing in the ring, I'm like 150.
What would it take for you to fight your brother?
There is not enough money in this world. I would ask you how much your mother's heart costs.
How would you explain the appeal of boxing to someone who doesn't get it?
You don't like boxing? You're going to come and see a match. In the beginning you're going to be shy, but later on you're going to jump on a chair and scream, "Hit him! Hit him!" Do you know why men box? Men box because we are trying to win a female's heart.
Do you have to avoid places where people like to fight?
You've picked up the topic that is affecting my life. I don't like to go to bars. First of all, I'm not a drinker. Second, there's always someone that has guts and wants to fight because they're probably a little bit tipsy. I never fought in my life outside of a ring.
O.K., ah, yes. I fell in love with the same girl that my school friend fell in love with, so we got in a fight, but it was--we were kids. I don't want to tell you who won. After that, my father told me that the word can be much tougher than the fist.
Wasn't your father in the Soviet military?
He was in service. My brother was born in Kyrgyzstan. I was born in Kazakhstan. We went to the Czech Republic. Then, from 1985, we were in Kiev. In April of '86, the Chernobyl catastrophe happened. The first people who were sent to clean it up were military. They were, most of the time, not prepared. And a lot of them died either right away or through the years. Unfortunately, my father is one of them. He made it till he was 64, and he was really suffering in the last years.
You have a Ph.D. from a university in Kiev. What was your dissertation about?
It's about teaching young athletes between 14 and 19--that in particular programs, with the girls and boys, their bodies are changing, so you have to consider how much training you give. It's a very important period of time in a human's life, before they will reach first success.
Can I make a suggestion for your postboxing career? Movie villain. Try saying "Goodbye, Mr. Bond."
I prefer "I'll be back."