David Tua still a big hit in and out of the ring
David Tua is still a hit with the public, his few hours in Invercargill yesterday hightlighted that.
The 41-year-old heavyweight - who in 2000 fought Lennox Lewis for the world heavyweight title - is set to return to the ring in Hamilton on August 31 when he will take on top 10 world ranked fighter Alexander Ustinov, who stands at 2.02m tall.
The Russian has an impressive 28 fight, 27 win, 21 knockout record.
Tua was in Invercargill promoting the bout and speaking with The Southland Times about the past, as well as his present shot at taking on another world ranked fighter.
His profile as one of New Zealand's more likeable sportsmen, and his past achievements, still rank highly with many in New Zealand.
While eating at an Invercargill cafe yesterday numerous people stopped and asked to have their photograph taken with the former Olympic bronze medallist.
Most were clearly excited by the opportunity to meet the legendary New Zealand heavyweight boxer.
"It's very humbling," Tua said about still being a hit with the public.
"That's what it's all about, it's about the people," he said.
His next assignment against the giant Russian is no publicity stunt, it is a genuine bout that Tua will need to be absolutely ready for.
If he's not, Tua knows he will find himself in trouble.
The announcement of the fight has been meet with mixed reactions.
Tua hasn't been that active in the ring in recent times and some have suggested his time in boxing is up.
Tua was aware there were people who think he should leave the boxing game, but he said this wass something he was excited about doing and had no doubts.
"People have their opinions, you can't stop what the critics say. I'm just blessed that I get another opportunity to do what I love - boxing."
- © Fairfax NZ News