I never left, says fired-up Tua of comeback

'There was never a time I considered retiring'

JONATHAN CARSON
Last updated 05:00 25/06/2013
David Tua
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ

BIG HIT: If David Tua beats Russian-born Alexander Ustinov in Hamilton on August 31, he could have a shot at the world title.

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There's something about the look in David Tua's eyes.

Or maybe it's the way his voice rises when he talks boxing and the way it softens when he speaks of his struggles outside the ring.

It's an honesty, a peace of mind. A fire still burns within the 40-year-old boxer and, until it fades, he has no plans to hang up the gloves.

In an exclusive interview with the Waikato Times, Tua talks about his return to boxing, his dream of another world title shot and the breakdown of his marriage.

Ask Tua why he's making a comeback and he'll tell you he never left.

He simply had to take care of personal business after his loss to American Monte Barrett in August 2011, which all but derailed his career.

"They were things that weren't going to go away unless I sorted them out," he said at his Onehunga gym yesterday.

"But I never left. I love the game, it's been my life. There was never a time that I considered retiring."

Tua will fight 2.02-metre tall, Russian-born Alexander Ustinov, 36, at Hamilton's Claudelands Arena on August 31.

It's a credible matchup. Ustinov is ranked 10th by the World Boxing Association and has a record of 27 wins, one loss, compared with Tua's 52 wins, 4 losses and two draws.

Critics are already saying Tua's too old; he's in it for the money; he should give up before he embarrasses himself.

"I know in myself that this is the right thing to do and this has always been the right thing to do," Tua said.

"There's got to be a better and an easier way to make a living than getting hit and getting paid. It's never been about the pay cheque."

It is believed his last two fights were hindered by problems in his personal life - the split with wife, Robina, and financial difficulties.

"It was about me and my wife and where things were at that stage of my life. Personally, apart from my mum, she's the greatest person I know. It was just unfortunate that those things unfolded maybe the way they shouldn't.

"For me, I looked at my career and what I was doing at the time and made a real tough decision on where I'm going."

If Tua wins impressively against Ustinov, it will put him on a career path towards another world title shot.

"I still dream about that," he said.

"I'm a realist as well and I've got to take one fight at a time."

Tua is well on the road to getting in top shape with trainer Lee Parore and is intensely focused on the fight ahead.

But, perhaps most telling of all, for the first time in a long time, he's happy.

"A happy David Tua's a dangerous David Tua," he said.

"I can only hope that on the 31st of August that the real David Tua stands up."

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