While talking to representatives of global news agencies, Russian President Vladimir Putin jokingly offered Bloomberg's Executive Editor Rosalind Mathieson to challenge him on a tatami while answering her questions on an OPEC+ deal and communication between Moscow and Washington on Venezuela.
Mathieson was introduced to Putin as a fan of Muay Thai and the journalist herself noted that the sport had helped her a lot in life and allowed her to cope with her fears. Mathieson added that she still wouldn't call out Putin to fight her in the ring. The Russian president jokingly responded that even if she did, he wouldn't agree to it.
"I'd like to say that I wouldn't enter the ring with you myself. Not because you're a woman, but because everyone should paddle one's own canoe. I've never boxed. I can meet you on the tatami and do some sparring, but there I'll have a solid advantage, I assure you", Putin said.
The Russian president is a long-time fan of martial arts, namely sambo and judo, and continues to practice the latter. He currently holds an 8th dan black belt in the sport and has also received an 8th dan in Kyokushin karate and a 9th dan in taekwondo.