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Tua well ahead on points with public

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 28/06/2013
David Tua
JOHN HAWKINS/Fairfax NZ
BIG HIT: Popular heavyweight boxer David Tua with boxing fan David McAnelly in Invercargill yesterday while promoting his next bout against Russian Alexander Ustinov in Hamilton on August 31.

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David Tua is still a hit with the public, his few hours in Invercargill yesterday highlighted that.

The 41-year-old heavyweight - who in 2000 fought Lennox Lewis for the world heavyweight title - is set to return to the ring in Hamilton on August 31, when he will take on top-10 world-ranked fighter Alexander Ustinov, who stands at 2.02m tall.

The Russian has an impressive 28-fight, 27-win, 21-knockout record.

Tua was in Invercargill promoting the bout and speaking with The Southland Times about the past, and his present shot at taking on another world-ranked fighter.

His profile as one of New Zealand's more likeable sportsmen and his past achievements still rank highly with many in New Zealand.

While eating at a city cafe yesterday, numerous people stopped and asked to have their photograph taken with the Olympic bronze medallist.

Most were clearly excited by the opportunity to meet the legendary New Zealand heavyweight boxer.

"It's very humbling," Tua said about still being a hit with the public.

"That's what it's all about, it's about the people."

His next assignment against the giant Russian is no publicity stunt, it is a genuine bout that Tua will need to be absolutely ready for. If he's not, he knows he will find himself in trouble.

The announcement of the fight has been meet with mixed reactions.

Tua hasn't been very active in the ring lately and some have suggested his time in boxing is up.

Tua was aware there were people who think he should quit boxing, but he said this was something he was excited about doing and had no doubts.

"You can't stop what the critics say. I'm just blessed that I get another opportunity to do what I love - boxing."

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