Tua comeback fight to bring business boom
The battleground for David Tua's make or break comeback fight against a colossal Russian-born challenger has been set for Hamilton.
The international boxing event, dubbed David vs Goliath, will be staged at Claudelands Arena on August 31, and is expected to bring a "business boom" to the city.
Tua will clash with 36-year-old, 2.03-metre tall Alexander Ustinov, ranked as the 10th best heavyweight by the World Boxing Association with a record of 28 wins, 21 by knockout and one loss.
It is considered 40-year-old Tua's last chance to impress after a disappointing draw and loss to American Monte Barrett in 2010 and 2011 respectively, which sent him into retirement.
If he wins convincingly, he may jump the queue for another world title shot.
If he loses, it may spell the end for one of New Zealand's great heavyweights.
"I am boxing again because I eventually want to have another shot at the heavyweight title," Tua said.
"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."
Duco Events promoter David Higgins said the fight was "the most substantial, credible heavyweight boxing match-up in New Zealand history" and Claudelands Arena was the best venue in the country to host it.
The last time Tua fought in Hamilton was when he defeated fellow Kiwi Shane Cameron at Mystery Creek Events Centre in 2009.
That fight night brought thousands of people and millions of dollars into the city via hotels, suit hire, taxis, bars and restaurants, and Higgins said to expect the same in August.
"It creates a two or three day period where business will boom," Higgins said.
The fight, and the city, will be broadcast in Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Germany, United States and Australia with up to 200 million tuning in globally.
Tua has spent tens of thousands of dollars of his own money on a secret six-month training camp and a strict diet to get himself back in shape.
Many critics think Tua has lost his spark and should no longer be fighting, but Higgins said his work ethic over the past six months has been unquestionable.
"David has been working out two times a day, six days a week. He's been getting fit from the inside out - the old school way."
The fight already has the attention of world heavyweight champions Wladamir and Vitali Klitschko, who own the promotion company Ustinov is signed to and are potential future opponents for Tua.
"So, no, it is no accident that we have ended up with an opponent for David who could represent a title shot in the not-too-distant future."
Claudelands Arena director of business development and marketing Murray Jeffrey said he was negotiating the deal with Duco for months, but would not be drawn on how much money it's worth.
The arena has capacity for about 3500 general admission seats, which range from $69 to $199, and 120 corporate tables from $5000 to $12,000.
"We're expecting it's highly likely to sell out relatively quickly," Mr Jeffrey said.
Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker said the event was a major opportunity for the city to be seen across the world.
Tickets go on sale through Ticketek today.
- © Fairfax NZ News