David Tua shaping up for his do-or-die clash
David Tua has crowned himself a "giant killer" ahead of his do-or-die boxing clash in Hamilton with two-metre tall Russian Alexander Ustinov.
Tua has been studying videos of his opponent and has already identified weaknesses that he will seek to exploit when they meet in the ring at Hamilton's Claudelands Arena on August 31.
The event is called David v Goliath, and in an exclusive interview Tua, 40, said he would have to become boxing's "giant killer" and win by knockout in order to make a statement.
"I'm going for a good win. If that opportunity opens up I'm going to take it. Absolutely," he said.
"I've seen him fight. There's always holes and everything. I think there's a few there I can pick up."
Ustinov stands 2.02 metres tall and weighs 136 kilograms, compared to Tua's 1.78 metres and most recent fight weight of 110.8kg.
But in his latest fights the Russian - who has 27 wins, 21 by knockout and one loss - has been sluggish and he holds his hands low, providing plenty of openings for Tua to target if he comes into the ring in better mental and physical shape than his last appearance in August 2011.
At his Onehunga gym yesterday, Tua was already looking much slimmer and more toned than he was six months ago.
There's still plenty of flab hanging off his torso, but his shoulders are taking shape and his legs, his main source of power, are morphing into thick muscle.
"Not bad for an old fella," he said, flexing his arms.
Tua's said to have lost more than 20kg over the past six months and he credits a return of trainer Lee Parore, who got him in the best shape of his career for his fight against Shane Cameron in 2009, for his drastic transformation.
"I got killed for the first week, but no matter what he put out there I'd always come back," Tua said.
"I need to stay on top to get myself in the best possible shape so I can give myself the best possible chance in this fight.
"It's ugly, absolutely ugly, man. It's terrible. There isn't any happy, great thought that crosses my mind when I train because I get killed every day.
"Some days I die three times, four times."
He's said to be training two times a day, six days a week with Parore and has also cleaned up his diet, which means no more Burger King.
"The most important thing is not to stay focused on the weight, but it's the feeling, because you can lose weight and not feel good."
He said he turned up unprepared for his last fight with Barrett, a mistake he has no plans of repeating.
"If I'm willing to take care of what I need to do ... I really believe the rest will take care of itself."