Former trainer tips David Tua to beat Ustinov

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 09/11/2013
Alexander Ustinov
Photosport
TALL ORDER: Alexander Ustinov presents a difficult challenge for David Tua.

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David Tua's former trainer Chris Martin has watched Alexander Ustinov peel through his sparring partners at will in recent days but he is still leaning towards a Tua victory next Saturday night.

Tua will take on the Belarusian in Hamilton in what is regarded as one of the biggest boxing bouts to be held in New Zealand given Tua and Ustinov's records in the sport.

Martin - who prepared Tua for a win over Demetrice King and loss to Monte Barrett in 2011 - has watched Ustinov spar for close to 25 rounds in recent days and acknowledged it has been hard work for those that have been put in front of the No 8 world ranked IBF boxer.

Included in the sparring sessions have been Alex Leapai and Afa Tatupu along with a host of inexperienced local fighters.

Martin said the class difference was obvious with Ustinov sending one of them to A&E with a nasty rib injury.

"In fairness to the boys they are inbetween fights and some of them aren't that fit. But last night it was good to line them up and give Ustinov some work, but he's been cutting through them. It's a whole different class, he's very disciplined and he's actually deceptively fast for a big guy."

Despite Martin being impressed with what he has seen from the 36-year-old, who has 27 wins and one loss on his record, he's still predicting Tua to do the business in Hamilton.

"The Russians obviously have a plan but David's in great shape and if David's in great shape and in a good head space David's very dangerous. He's probably classically the better boxer, David would have more power and David would have the better chin too," Martin said.

It's that head space that Martin thinks will be Tua's biggest strength. He said when he trained Tua for his last fight against Monte Barrett in 2011 the Samoan-born Kiwi wasn't mentally there, eluding to his marriage breakup with wife Robina.

"David had some issues the last time in the Barrett fight personally and it made things very hard. A lot of people probably don't realise that you can't perform in the ring when you've got some big battles outside the ring, it's a tough game," he said.

"But David looks really motivated and in great shape, that's why you have to lean David's way at being the favorite, for me anyway."

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