Heavyweight boxer David Tua senses the late, great Peter Fatialofa will be overseeing his heavyweight battle with Belarusian Alexander Ustinov in Hamilton this weekend.
Tua dedicated his press conference in Auckland this morning to the memory of fellow Samoan and good friend Fatialofa who died of a heart attack last week.
His media obligations meant he couldn't attend Fatialofa's official funeral in South Auckland although he was at last night's memorial service.
"I'd like to dedicate a moment of silence for a great major, a great hero, a great bloke in Peter Fatialofa," Tua said before doing any fighting talk about Saturday night's showdown.
When the minute's silence was observed by a large gathering of media and boxing personalities in downtown Auckland, Tua said he believed Fatialofa "is here with me".
Fatialofa, a legendary figure in Auckland and Samoan rugby, has hero status back in the islands, as does Tua. Fatialofa also had a great love of boxing.
"I knew Fats very well, he was one of the brothers ... it's a great loss, Tua said.
"I was there last night at the memorial service, unfortunately I couldn't be there today for the funeral service. But last night was a lot of fun... there was a lot of laughter going on, a lot of great stories."
Tua said his fitness work and boxing training "couldn't have gone better" and believed it would deliver him to the ring in peak shape.
He felt he needed to be at his best for the challenge of Ustinov, the 2.02m giant whose 29-1 record sees him world rated.
"I know I have a tall order," the 41-year-old Tua said with a smile.
"He's a big man with great reach and great height. But for me, I know I'm in great shape and I'm looking forward to taking advantage of that."
Tua's trainer Henry Schuster continued to play down the alarming height difference.
"David always fights tall people, this is just another tall person," Schuster said in reference to Tua's 1.78m frame.
"David Tua is in the best shape of his life, it's only in the mind now. That's what I've said to David ... it's all in your mind. If your mind is right, you will be right."
Ustinov said he had completed sparring and was in the final phase of his training.
- © Fairfax NZ News