Hype ratchets up as 'backyard brawl' nears

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2011
David Tua
GRAHAME COX
FRONTING UP: New Zealand's David Tua and American opponent Demetrice King face up against each other ahead of tonight's heavyweight clash in Manukau.

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At last a bit of trash talking – American boxer Demetrice King labelled David Tua "average, nothing really super or frightening", ahead of tonight's heavyweight clash in Manukau.

King was speaking about his first impressions of seeing Tua stripped down for yesterday's weigh-in at the fight venue.

Tua tipped the scales at 112.8kg compared to King's 124.6kg.

Given there is little height or reach advantage for King, he certainly appears to have a big engine. And he hasn't brought a spare tyre all the way from Michigan for this fight.

In fact both boxers looked in good condition if first impressions are anything to go by.

As expected, Tua is slightly heavier than in his last fight eight months ago, adding 5kg to the weight he fought Monte Barrett with for a draw in New Jersey, but without any associated flab.

King has maintained his usual sort of fight weight and is comfortable with his XXL build that was surprisingly trim once he removed his black hoodie.

"I've never had any problems carrying the weight around," the 26-year-old said, believing he had the body for the assignment.

"I'm a tank and I'm ready to stand up to whatever comes my way. I've conditioned my body to take the shots.

"I'm prepared for this. I can go toe-to-toe, I can mix it up; I'm ready for anything.

"You have two power fighters and we will take whatever opportunity comes our way."

Durability has been a hallmark of King's chequered career and he suggested being 12 years younger than Tua could be a factor if the fight drags on. He has only been knocked out twice in his 19 losses.

His trainer, Karlin Reyes, describes some of those points decision losses as controversial and heartbreaking. But he says they have been massive learning experiences for his fighter who he believes is ready for some payback.

"He can punch man, he can punch," Reyes said of King who has 13 knockouts in his 15 wins.

The Tua camp needs no warning of that. As Tua's trainer Chris Martin said of King: "He's a big man, he can punch and he hasn't come here to lie down. He sees this as a great opportunity and he's a hungry young man."

The feeling is this battle will be fought at close quarters, befitting its "backyard brawl" moniker. Tua has been upping his workrate, particularly with body shots.

"He will be wanting to set up camp nice and close," Martin anticipated of King.

"He isn't going to be dancing. I'd like to see Dave getting some angles and get some shots off and not letting him set. But David can set up camp right there as well. It could be an exciting fight."

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Tua expressed pleasant surprise with his own weight given the tough camp he has been through and the drive to add a bit more beef to the upper body. He's confident that hasn't affected his endurance or his punching speed.

Asked if he was in for a long night, Tua replied: "I'm prepared for any round. But this is heavyweight boxing – guys get hit with a good shot in the right place and it's game over."

Tua is itching to get his campaign back on track. "David's ready to go he wanted the fight last weekend. I've had to keep the reins on him a bit," Martin said.

DAVID TUA

New Zealand/Samoa
Age: 38
Weight: 112.8kg
Height: 1.78m
Stance: Orthodox
Pro debut: 1992
Record: 56 fights: 51 wins (43 KO), 3 losses, 2 draws

- The Dominion Post

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