David Tua shapes up well for Ustinov fight
David Tua says he will step into the ring in his career-defining fight against Belarusian Alexander Ustinov in the same shape he was in when he destroyed Shane Cameron in 2009, if not better.
The New Zealand heavyweight boxer is just 24 sleeps out from a shot at taking on the No 8 world-ranked IBF heavyweight in a fight that could end Tua's career but could also fling the door open wider than it has been.
If 40-year-old Tua was to lose to the giant 2.02m 36-year-old Ustinov in Hamilton on November 16, his dream of a world title would probably be quashed for good.
However, win and another world title fight becomes a genuine reality. The world heavyweight ranks are not very strong at the moment and a win over Ustinov would propel Tua straight into a top-10 ranking.
Also, Ustinov is managed by Alexander Usyk, who also manages the world's best heavyweight boxers Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko.
Tua knows what is on offer and it seems he is not taking his second chance at a potential world title bid lightly.
While he wasn't too keen on divulging his current weight until the official weigh-in day, Tua did tell Fairfax yesterday he would turn up with a physique similar to that he was in when he beat Cameron.
That day in 2009, Tua fought at 107kg and it is understood Tua's weight at one stage ballooned out to more than 150kg following his fight against Monte Barrett in 2011. If that is the case, it means a weight loss of around the 40kg mark, which is remarkable.
Throughout his career, Tua has not been regarded the best of trainers, and his love of food has hindered him at times but, on the occasions when the switch has been flicked, he has knuckled down and done what has been required in the leadup to fights.
If Tua's comments are spot-on, this could be one of those times that that switch has been flicked.
"I think things are heading in the same direction and possibly even better than the Shane Cameron fight, as far as the shape I'm in at the moment," he said yesterday.
Tua feels like there is a sense of "nothing to lose" hanging over him in regard to this fight and he was throwing everything at it and had the approach that what happens, happens.
It was a state of mind he was very happy with.
"There's nothing to lose, for me. All that is important is I go out there and leave everything I have in that ring and if I know that win, lose, or draw I've given it my everything, I can walk away a happy person.
"If it goes well and leads to a title shot, it would be fantastic, but, if it doesn't go well, it's not going to be the end of the world. I think, where I am today, it is a miracle that I'm still involved with the sport of boxing - but more importantly I can still spell my name," Tua added with a laugh.
Tua said he had shaken off a calf injury that had delayed the fight originally set for August 31. The extra time has given him a bit longer to prepare, which may turn out to be a blessing.
- © Fairfax NZ News