“Boxing is beautiful, but hard.” Interview with a young boxer from the Nenets Autonomous Okrug Nikolai Gusev

The young athlete has more than 50 fights in his arsenal. He repeatedly became the champion of regional and interregional competitions. The young man brought home a silver medal from the recent championship. NAO24 correspondent met with Nikolai Gusev and found out where the love for boxing began and why this sport is so attractive

Photo: Alexandra Berg/

We met Nikolai during his next training session. He studies together with other guys under the strict guidance of Anatoly Shiroky. The guys follow the coach’s instructions in a coordinated manner. Sweaty, tired, exhausted, the athletes do not give up, they concentrate and deliver precise blows to the bag with frantic speed.

So, the coach lets Kolya go, because journalists came to him. The blond, good-natured guy modestly answers questions. Apparently, he’s not used to talking about himself much. Apparently, Kolya is one of those guys who says little, but to the point.

Photo: Alexandra Berg/

— Nikolai, when did you start boxing?

— I came to this sport at the age of 11-12. I have been interested in boxing for six years, and have been training closely for three years. Then I had a lot of friends who boxed, they called me, and we went to the gym together. Then the guys went their separate ways of them I was the only one who continued to practice boxing.

— What do you like about boxing?

— Boxing is a very beautiful sport, but difficult. In Russia it is very developed and very popular.

— What attitude do you have when you go to each training session, what do you think about?

– It’s hard every time. Often, when I come home from study, I sleep. Then it’s difficult to get up for training. But no matter what, I still get up and go.

— How do you start your morning? Maybe boxers have their own habits?

— Before the last stage of the competition, two or three weeks before, I get up early in the morning, go for a run, and warm up. When I get home, I go to the shower, cook porridge and go to study.

Photo: Alexandra Berg/

— Did you have to fight outside the ring? Or are you for a peaceful resolution of the conflict?

– No, I never fought. Everyone knows me, respects me, communicates with me. But everything always depends on the current situation. It is clear that you should never get into a fight or provoke a conflict. It’s better to resolve everything peacefully and just talk.

— How do you manage to combine study and boxing?

— This year I entered the Naryan-Mar Social and Humanitarian College as a physical education teacher. Therefore, my future profession is directly related to sports. And so, it is clear that boxing is always a priority. But I don’t miss classes either, it’s not that difficult to combine.

– Do you remember your first fight?

— It was in 2015. Guys from Arkhangelsk came to the Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Then I boxed with a guy from our gym, he was two years or more older and won on points.

— What is your most memorable fight?

— Won the North-West championship twice. Last year at Russian competitions I reached the quarter-finals, only one fight was not enough to reach the semi-finals.

Yaroslavl Region Governor’s Boxing Cup. Photo: SSHOR “Trud”

– At the beginning of September you won silver at the Yaroslavl Region Governor’s Cup. What do you think was missing to get first place?

— The tournament was interregional. There were strong rivals in my weight class – European Champions, Russian winners. I had two fights, and in the third I met a very experienced guy. It was a good fight, the opponent won the rounds 2:1. In addition, the final opponent turned out to be left-handed, he had a mirrored stance, which is not very convenient to work with.

How was the competition overall? Have you identified your strengths or weaknesses?

— I often work through everything with a coach. After every competition we work on our mistakes.

— How does your family feel about your hobby of boxing?

— Mom doesn’t really like me, she wants me to leave this sport. And when I found out that in a year I would be boxing without a helmet, I began to worry even more (I’ve been working in a junior group for the last year, and from the age of 19 I will be competing as an adult, without a helmet). But my mother is happy for me, supports me and helps me with everything. She just doesn’t come to competitions, she’s afraid, she’s scared to watch.

Photo: Alexandra Berg/

— Do you plan to engage in boxing in the future? Or is it just a hobby. Maybe you’ll choose a boxing career?

— For now, I’m thinking about continuing to practice, continue boxing. Well, we’ll see how everything turns out.

— The legend of Soviet and Russian boxing Alexander Lebzyak came to Naryan-Mar. You were not able to attend the meeting; you were in Yaroslavl. Do you have your own idols, who do you look up to?

– Roy Jones. Among the boxers in our time is Gervonta Davis. Of the Russians, Dmitry Bivol and Vyacheslav Gusev box well.

— How do you cope with defeats?

— If this is the Russian Championship, then, of course, I’m very upset. At a championship like this, you have to go as far as possible to get into the team. And the last competitions in Yaroslav were interregional, so I wasn’t so worried, I just gained more experience.

Nenets Autonomous Okrug Governor’s Cup in boxing. Photo: Alexandra Berg/

– Well, the final question is, do you remember yourself when you started boxing at the age of 11? What would you wish for that 11-year-old Kolya Gusev?

“I think it’s okay, he already knows everything.”

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