Former heavyweight champion Nikolai "Beast from the East" Valuyev departed on a trip to track a yeti in Siberia's Kemerovo region, his expedition blessed by a shaman, local authorities reported Thursday.
Valuyev is accompanied by journalists from 16 media outlets on the two-day trip to the Azass Cave on Mount Shoriya, an alleged habitat of the so-called Kuzbass yeti, where it was reported to have been seen in 2009.
On departure from the village of Ust-Kabyrza, a local shaman led several helpers in a ritual asking forest spirits to help the two-time WBA champion, who is 38 years old and 2.13 meters tall, find the mythical creature.
The group is traveling across taiga in off-road trucks, but will have to travel in boats and walk part of the way, the region's administration said on its web site.
Though its existence was never confirmed, the Kuzbass yeti was made a trademark of the Kemerovo region. The creature has an official web site and its own Twitter account.