Otto ’Bisse’ Viherä

 

Otto has a fighter spark in his eyes, which can expand into a devastating fire inside the boxing ring. This power was released in his first fight, when he knocked-out his opponent in 20 seconds. The chessboxing community is very eager to see him again in the ring.

His fighter name ‘Bisse’ is an shortened version of the historical person Bismarck, which is also used in local bars, as it means beer in Finnish.

Year of birth: 1993

 

Profession: Investment agent

 

Current residency: Helsinki

Chess ELO rating: 800

Weight class: 85 kg

Amount of matches: 1

What kind of sports did you follow when you were young?

As a kid, at home, I remember watching the Olympics, formulas and hockey championships on TV. However, the whole family was engaged in football, including my two brothers and both of my parents.

 

 

How in the world did you become interested in chess boxing?

 

When I trained fitness boxing and lifted the weights in the gym, I happened to notice one Saturday that some guys were playing chess, after having sparred in the ring. As a curious person, I had to ask what they were doing. This small talk led me to try it myself.

 

 

How do you think chess and boxing relate to each other?

Both are, I think, a rather sensitive forms of a sport. In both sports, small things, e.g. a surprise move on the chess board or a successful hit in the boxing ring, can crucially determine the outcome. Boxing and chess are also similar to the extent that one need to be able to move fast and hit hard – with the fist or brain – in order to to win.

 

 

Do you think you are stronger in either chess or boxing?

Personally, I consider myself stronger in boxing at the moment, as my athletic background has given me a good base for the boxing mobility, explosiveness, flexibility etc. All this said, I should improve my chess.

 

 

What does chessboxing mean to you?

Chessboxing has given me ways to develop myself simultaneously in many different ways. Through sparring and official the matches, I have been able to set new goals, which I aim to reach. On the softer side, it’s always nice to interact with friends during the workouts.

 

 

Can chessboxing be dangerous?

 

Yes and no. I recall my first training event at the Savate Club in Helsinki, when I decided to participate to a initiation match, which did not end as expected. After having my first three minutes of playing chess I took my time to prepare myself inside the boxing ring. As the bell rang, I only moved for a moment as I suddenly injured my ankle. Thus, my first experience of chessboxing ended in taking a taxi straight to the local hospital. Luckily, it was just a stretch that needed to be taken care of.

 

 

How do you maintain and develop your chess skills?

Mainly through playing chess.com, as well as face to face chess games with friends.

 

 

What made you to enlist as a fighter in the Nordic Chessboxing event?

 

What else can I say, the first chessboxing event in the Northen Europe and in such a legendary place in my home city, the Paasitorni Main Hall, was an opportunity not to be missed.

 

How would you describe yourself as a chessboxer?

I would characterise myself as more aggressive than a moderate contestant.

 

 

Finally, do you want to add something?

Yes, if one is strongly into either chess or boxing, you should acquaint yourself to the “other side of the sport”. As my final words, I would like to encourage everyone to attend Finland's first chessboxing event. Live video stream tickets are also available for those who are not able to attend in person.

Interviewed by Tero Pajunen.

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