David Tua: “Klitschko’s beatable like anybody else”

tua by Geoffrey Ciani - This week’s 81st edition of On the Ropes Boxing Radio featured an exclusive interview with heavyweight contender David Tua (51-3-1, 43 KOs) who is all set to face Monte Barrett (34-9, 20 KOs) this Saturday night, July 17 at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Tua, who is currently the WBO’s number two ranked contender, has his eyes set on another shot at the title. Tua last fought for the title in November 2000 when he lost a unanimous decision to WBC/IBF champion Lennox Lewis. Known for having tremendous punching power and a granite chin, Tua remains a formidable foe in today’s heavyweight landscape. Here are some excerpts from the Tua interview:

On training and preparations for his July 17 fight against Monte Barrett:
“Training’s been going really well. We’re training here in Jersey City down at the World Boxing Fitness Center. Training’s been going really, really well. I’ve been sparring pretty good. I’ve been doing other bits and pieces with regards to the preparation from the conditioning side of things. This is the toughest week. It’s about maintaining. Sometimes you can get too relaxed and get lost into the whole thing, but it’s about staying on top of the job and staying focused.”

On what he expects from his opponent, Monte Barrtt:
“He’s a capable fighter. He’s fought for the world title a couple of times. Things didn’t go his way, but not many people can say they fought for a world title. He’s a fighter-boxer and for me the most important thing is for me to focus on what I need to do.”

On whether he views the fight with Barrett as a tune-up or another step on his road to a second title shot:
“I believe it’s a title fight as far as my approach is concerned. In this day and age it doesn’t matter if it’s boxing, basketball, football—on any given day or any given night anybody can beat anybody. So for me, this is the only title fight that matters. I’m well prepared for this fight and I just hope all goes well on my way. As far as I’m concerned, this is the only title that matters.”

On who he’d most like to match-up against in the event he is successful against Barrett:
“Obviously that would be a great opportunity, it would be an awesome blessing, to be given an opportunity to challenge for the world title and hopefully winning it. I guess my whole approach from here on is to just keep doing what I need to do and that is to keep winning one fight at a time and if that leads me into the direction that will allow me a title opportunity—fantastic. The most important thing is not to get caught up dreaming and thinking about fighting for a title and not concentrating on the fight that’s in front of you. For me it’s important not to get distracted and to concentrate on one fight at a time.”

His views on IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko:
“Well he’s a world champion. Klitschko’s beatable like anybody else. He’s doing and has done what he is supposed to be doing and he’s done very, very well and is very successful at it.”

On watching guys such as John Ruiz, Oleg Maskaev, and Hasim Rahman go on to become world champions after he had already beaten them:
“At the time, as a fighter, you’re prepared to fight anybody wherever and whenever. So for me, I was very honored and fortunate to be fighting some of the best heavyweight guys. Some of the guys that I fought moved on and fought for the world titles and some of them have won it. To see them succeed while I was away it was very frustrating for me, however, it was important for me with what I was going through to have that peace of mind that those things needed to be taken care of. Otherwise there would be no point getting back into the ring when my mind and heart weren’t in it. So it was very important for me to take care of. It was pretty frustrating. It was very frustrating because it was an opportunity missed. But I guess with where things are at, everything happens for a reason. I am blessed to be given a second chance to get back into it and to do what I love but approach it from a different perspective. I know that this time around the reason and the purpose why I’m back in the ring is right. Not that it wasn’t right before, it’s just that when you’re young coming through the ranks there are so many things that go through your mind that at times you’re doing it for the right reason and at time you’re not doing it for the right reasons. So if anything else I’m grateful to have another shot at it.”

On heated sparring sessions he had with Andrew Golota when the two were with Main Events climbing through the ranks in the mid-late 90s:
“Well it was a great opportunity. It was an honor to be given the chance to spar Andrew Golota who was someone that was considered back then as the star of the young heavyweights coming through the ranks. As a fighter you got to prove yourself. Sometimes these sparring sessions get heated and you got to stand up for yourself. You got to do what you got to do. That’s just the way it is. Whatever happens in the ring, you be man enough to leave it all in there and don’t forget to breathe and enjoy life.”

On how trainer Roger Bloodworth helps his game at this stage in his career:
“It’s all about the basics. You can have the best left hook, you can have the best right hand in the world, but if you don’t have the proper basics it means nothing. You’ll be fighting out of desperation and that pretty much is what I kind of went through in some fights that I fought earlier in my career. To be given an opportunity, it’s certainly great to work with not only a great coach and trainer but a great teacher in Roger. He really fine-tunes, for me personally, what the sweet science is all about. The fact is if you do the basics and the simplest things extraordinarily well, I believe you can become an extraordinary fighter. What he has restored in me is the fact you got to win each round, most importantly. It’s not about knocking everybody out because the game has changed so much that guys will not engage unless they have to. So the fact is you have to be smart apart from being strong. So the fact is you got to have a good delivery system with the basics to deliver that.”

His impressions of Tomasz Adamek as a fighter and whether he’s surprised by how well Adamek has done since moving up to heavyweight:
“He’s a very courageous fighter from the fights that I’ve seen him in. One thing you can never take away from Tomasz is his belief and his will to win. He’s a funny guy. Since I’ve come and trained here at Ziggy’s gym, he’s quite a character. He’s always coming up with something funny to say. But I’m not shocked at all with the success that he’s been having but good on him. May all the success and all that is good come his way.”

On his exciting action-packed fight against Ike Ibeabuchi in 1997:
“Those are the sort of fights that preferably I love. When a guy comes to engage and he comes to fight it makes me feel good because the fans are watching and people pay to come and watch. I feel good. At the end of the night if I win, great, but if not at least I know I’ve given it my very best because those who have come to pay and those who have paid to watch it from their homes, their money is well spent. That fight is memorable in many ways. To fight someone like Ike and for him not to go as far as winning a world title was a little disappointing to see. It was one of those classic heavyweight fights that for me will always be there as probably one of the best fights that I’ve been in.”

On whether he believes Ibeabuchi could have become a champion were it not for some of his issues:
“Sure, without a doubt. He had the ability from the boxing side of things. He did have what it takes to become a world champion. Unfortunately that never happened. I think that’s a reality check to all of us to know that today you do really well, tomorrow it could be somebody else or things can change. It’s about living life and enjoying it because we can’t be fighters forever.”

On his title fight against Lennox Lewis in 2000:
“I believe more importantly than all of the other things that it wasn’t my time. I really believe that because if things would have gone my way I really believe me and you wouldn’t be talking right now, and more importantly, I believe I would have lost my identity. When I was away from the game through other managerial problems, I looked back at that title fight and I thank God that it didn’t go my way. I don’t want to say it in the sense that I’m ungrateful or any other things because I love the sport of boxing and I’ve always appreciated and respected the support of the fans. But for me, Lennox was one of those great champions of that time. If I would have gone in and given him my very best and lost, I can accept that fact, but to lose knowing I didn’t perform to my very best. It was very, very hard for me to accept. However, I’ve learned so much about the sport and about myself from that fight.”

On how he believes he has changed as a fighter since losing to Lewis:
“I believe I’ve changed a lot and in so many ways. I think more importantly the person has to change, and that means change mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally. I really believe it’s not just the physical preparation, anymore. How I’ve changed, I’m now trying to do the best I can to be the best father to my two boys and to be the best husband to my wife. At the end of the day, like I said, I love what I do in the ring but when I get home I want to make sure that my bags are still inside my house.”

On whether he wishes he was regularly facing better competition following his win over Rahman when he waited as the number one contender for a title shot:
“Certainly that’s one way to look at it. Unfortunately, I had no say in regards to who I would fight. So it was important for me to do my job at the very best. That’s one way to look at it. Yeah, it would have been better, however, they had other plans so the next best thing that I could do was to be prepared and do those fights.”

On comparisons fans make between him and Mike Tyson and whether he was ever interested in having a fight against Tyson:
“I reckon I would have done okay. I think I would have done alright. You know, I have the utmost respect for Tyson. When the era of Muhammad Ali died out obviously Larry Holmes and some of the other great champions came through but it wasn’t until the arrival Mike Tyson that the boxing world just exploded in a good way. So when there was talk of me fighting Tyson I thought, man is it going to happen? Maybe it will or maybe not. For a little while I was thinking that. Then I thought well maybe the best thing is not to think too much about it because I can’t daydream about it all day, It was certainly something I had no control over, but if it did happen I reckon I would have done okay. I believe I would have done alright.”

On what it would mean to him to become heavyweight champion after fighting for so long:
“It will be awesome. I believe no words can describe it. I would be so speechless. With all of the things that I’ve encountered along the way, to finally win the heavyweight title would be the greatest honor. Like I said, if it happens fantastic. If it doesn’t I’ve got a good time limit of four or five years to be smart about it, to do it properly, and to take advantage of this second opportunity. If it happens great, if it doesn’t I can always say I’ve given it my very best and it’s time to do other things and to keep fighting the good fight living life.”

On whether he would be interested in a fight with WBA champion David Haye:
“I would be honored to fight any champion. As a fighter, that’s what I’m supposed to do. That’s what I need to do. Unfortunately with the business and the politics of the sport, sometimes fighters don’t get the fights that they need or that the fans want. That’s what I mean about not focusing on things I have no control over. But for me I’ll be honored to fight whoever.”

On what he views as the most important thing he needs to do to beat Barrett:
“I just got to win each round. That’s it. That’s the most important thing. You got to be smart and you got to win each round. It’s a twelve round fight. You got to be smart and you got to stay focused.”

On whether he has a prediction for his fight with Barrett:


For those interested in listening to the David Tua interview in its entirety, it begins approximately one hour into the show.


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Article posted on 16.07.2010

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