updated 8/20/2007 7:05:16 AM ET 2007-08-20T11:05:16

A Serbian village is hoping to channel some of Rocky Balboa’s fighting spirit with a 10-foot-tall statue of the fictional boxer portrayed by actor Sylvester Stallone.

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Zitiste, a village about 35 miles north of Belgrade that has been beset in recent years by flooding and landslides, unveiled the Rocky statue in the village square late Saturday.

The monument, unveiled as part of a music festival, is made of bronze and concrete. It was created by Croatian artist Boris Staparac.

Zitiste has repeatedly suffered flooding and landslides, gaining a disaster-prone reputation. Fed up, the locals contemplated how to change that image and revive the village — one of the poorest in northern Serbia — and came up with the idea of a statue of the tenacious fictional fighter.

“Our idea has really stirred the public,” said local official Zoran Kasalovic. “Now, no one in Serbia can say they don’t know about Zitiste.”

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