Notorious trainer Lee Parore admits he's had a bigger job knocking David Tua into shape than the last time he worked with New Zealand's celebrated heavyweight boxer.
Parore has been employed to tune up Tua's lagging fitness for the South Aucklander's latest comeback against world-rated Russian giant Alexander Ustinov in Hamilton on August 31.
Six months into the job and Parore believes they are on track.
Whether he can get Tua into the sort of condition he managed for his 2009 demolition of fellow Kiwi Shane Cameron remains to be seen.
"To be fair, he is probably in a little bit worse shape this time round. He let himself go a bit more," Parore conceded of their four-year break.
"So we started slow and we have slowly stepped up his training and now we are at a stage where his health can handle the training."
It's been a twice daily, six-day a week schedule and Parore says Tua's attitude can't be faulted as the 41-year-old eyes what will undoubtedly be his last shot at getting another world title chance.
A motivated Tua can be dynamite as he showed early in his career and repeated with his second round clubbing of Cameron.
"I do sense the same sort of motivation," Parore said but felt the toughest times still lay ahead two months out from the fight.
"The last six to eight weeks you have to step up the emotional component of all the training even more. We haven't even reached that stage yet.
"But where we are at right at the moment, physically things are coming together really well and mentally, the focus is really, really good. So everything is pointing to the direction we want.
"The motivation is an interesting thing. I can't motivate David, he has to do that himself. All I can do is create the environment where he can get himself into the best possible position. But he has to find that fire himself."
Parore says his personal challenge is to get Tua into a position where his boxing instincts take over.
"The most important thing is we get him into the right physical and mental shape. You have to remember, David knows how to fight. What has been letting him down is he just hasn't been in a fit enough condition so that he can actually do what his brain wants him to do."
Parore said the height of the 2.02m Ustinov represented obvious challenges for the squat Tua.
"They don't alter so much how we train, but they will alter how David fights. He has still got to get himself into the best possible condition because David is going to have to target the body big time.
"So we have been working on his foot speed, on his ability to move quickly over a very short space ... and to do that repeatedly, time after time. That's a key focus on the training."