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Tua: One Punch From Glory

Tua: One Punch From Glory

DAVID Tua is one punch away from making the sort of noise that will demand he be given a second shot at sports’ greatest prize – boxing’s heavyweight crown.

That’s the call from the famed boxing commentator Colonel Bob Sheridan as Tua and his opponent for August 31st Hydr8 ZERO David vs Goliath Alexander Ustinov came face-to-face for the first time today at a press conference in Auckland.

Tua, who famously took on Lennox Lewis in 2000 for the world title, will battle the odds against the giant Russian who stands eight inches taller than the Tuamanator, is ranked inside the top ten of both the IBF and WBA and has just one career loss from his 29 professional bouts.

In contrast Tua (40) hasn’t fought for two years and hasn’t knocked out an opponent for an incredible 46 rounds stretching back to his destruction job on Shane Cameron in 2009’s Fight of the Century.

Interesting though, the Hydr8 ZERO David vs Goliath bout at Claudelands Arena will be the first fight in nine years when Tua hasn’t had an elongated court case or multiple personal and financial issues clouding his fight preparation.

Couple that with the expert conditioning work of Lee Parore and the renewed energy that has accompanied the arrival of top Australian trainer Dave Hedgcock into the Team Tua ranks, and you begin to understand the confidence coming from the Swinging Samoan’s corner.

“A fit and focused David Tua is a dangerous beast,” said Sheridan. “Throw the word ‘urgency’ in there and you can’t help but think that the Tua we see on August 31 will be more like the Tua that has knocked out four world champions than the Tua we saw a couple of years ago.

“David Tua knows that father time is calling. He’s got a few years left in the game but if he wants those years to be spent contending and working his way to another title shot then he has to win this fight.

“And make no mistake about it – if David can win this fight then he will be knocking on the door of a title shot.”

Ustinov (36) is promoted by the Klitschko brothers Vitali and Wladimir who between them hold all of the world’s major heavyweight belts.

Said Sheridan: “The best thing that can happen for the Klitschkos is that David Tua beat their guy and they give him a pathway to a title shot. Wlad or Vitali fighting Tua would legitimise what they are doing in Europe because David Tua is an international name and his left hook is known by everyone in boxing. If they want to reach a truly global audience – they need David Tua.”

Of course for that scenario to play out, Tua needs to beat Ustinov in the Hydr8 ZERO David vs Goliath bout. And Sheridan - who has called 945 world title fights over a career spanning 45 years - knows what the fight plan should be.

“Everyone will talk about the difference in size. But that’s a non-factor. David is used to being the smaller guy in the ring. He’s always been the smaller fighter in the ring.

“The key to his fight is to get Ustinov to drop his hands and expose himself to David’s left hook. To do that David will need to hit him with some ferocious left hooks to the body.

“Ustinov will try and maul him but David can’t allow him to do that. He needs to be the general in the ring. The only way to do that is by burying a right hand in his gut then hitting him in the jaw with his left in the first round. That will set the tone for the war that will follow. But he’s got to get the Russians attention early...”

Hydr8 ZERO David vs Goliath

THE MAIN EVENT COMBATANTS:

DAVID TUA

•Olympic bronze medallist 1992

•Has knocked out four heavyweight world champions (John Ruiz, Oleg Maskaev, Hasim Rahman and Michael Moorer)

•Set a world record for punches thrown in a heavyweight fight (vs Ike Ibeabuchi in 1997

•Fought for the sports’ greatest prize, the Heavyweight Championship of the World in 2000

•Ranked No 48 greatest puncher of all time by Ring Magazine

•Won New Zealand’s Fight of the Century in 2009 in devastating style against Shane Cameron.

•His last punch in the ring, thrown in August 2011, broke the jaw of Monte Barrett and has just undergone 6 month brutal training camp and is in the best shape of his career

• Tua on fighting Ustinov: “I told the guys at Duco that I would fight anyone. And I am a man of my word. Alexander will be a challenging opponent on a number of levels. But I need ‘challenging’. I am boxing again because I eventually want to have another shot at the heavyweight title. That chance will never come if I run from fights. And that is something I have never done. I’m excited about the fight. The key now is to continue to work hard and make sure that come fight night I am in the best position possible to make a statement against Alexander and announce to the world that David Tua is serious about fulfilling his destiny.”
RECORD: Wins 52 (KO 43), Lost 4, Drawn 2

ALEXANDER USTINOV

•Stands 6 ft 7½ inches tall

•Currently ranked within top 10 in the World IBF and WBA

•Only one loss, to World IBF number 1 ranked Kubrat Pulev

•Has won 28 of 29 Heavyweight Fights

•Awarded the prestigious medal Order of Courage for 'Services to the Fatherland’ as a combat soldier in the Chechen campaign

•Four time winner one the K1 GP series (Russia and Spain in 2003 and Italy and Belgium in 2005)

•Promoted by the World Heavyweight Champion Klitschko brothers

•Is a former European Boxing Association heavyweight champion – 2010-2012

•Is a former IBO Inter-Continental heavyweight champion

RECORD: Wins 28 (KO 21), Lost 1, Draws 0

ends

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