David Tua invites the media over for a spar
Popular heavyweight boxer David Tua opened his doors yesterday to give a rare insight into his preparation so close to a fight. Fairfax Media were in attendance at his Onehunga gym.
In Onehunga's Waller St, there's a two-storey building which blends into its Auckland surroundings.
Inside, however, the giveaway is the black mini sitting outside with a licence plate O4OSUM.
This is the residence of New Zealand heavyweight boxer David Tua.
Downstairs he works as a boxer on a mission, upstairs he sleeps and eats.
It is the gym and home for New Zealand's highest profile boxer, which he yesterday opened up to the media who flocked to get a unique opportunity to watch him sparring less than a month out from his career-defining fight against No 8 ranked IBF heavyweight Alexander Ustivov.
In Tua's professional career, which stretches back to 1992, he has never given this sort of access to prying eyes so close to a fight.
The cameras and spectators crowded the ring as Tua went about his business, while Latino music played in the background masking the thuds that come from a Tua shot to the midrift.
The session was set down for eight rounds, but a weary Henry Schuster felt after four rounds everyone had seen enough.
The trainer wants to keep his cards close to his chest at the moment and felt they had already uncovered enough of Tua in four rounds of sparring.
Given that wary approach it was hard to get a 100 per cent gauge as to just where he is at, but what is obvious is the impressive physical state Tua was in as he worked through the four rounds.
Canadian Raymond Olubowale has sparred all over the world, including against David Haye, and when asked if having the media so involved was unique he responded: "Completely and utterly unique."
"I have absolutely no idea the mentality behind it. I've heard of training sessions with media but to actually spar, I've never had that before," he said.
"At first I thought it was going to be a training session and they wanted us to be there as well and they said 'we're sparring' and I said 'Ok'.
The 43-year-old Canadian has a 10 win, seven loss record but is better known as a sparring partner for many top level fighters.
He believes Tua still hits harder than anyone he has sparred with before.
"He is the strongest I've sparred with. I've sparred with David Haye and (Tua) is light years ahead," he added.
"I don't know if I owe him money or something, I'm not sure why he comes after me like that. He held nothing back (today)."
Tua suggested the media didn't see the best of him yesterday and that would come on November 16 in Hamilton.
"We had a very tough training yesterday and today I feel maybe 50/60 per cent and that 50/60 per cent I gave it my all. The trainer got me today because he told me it was going to be eight rounds."
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