David Tua’s heavyweight comeback has piqued the interest of arguably the greatest fighter of this generation – WBC champion Vitali Klitschko.
Vitali, who along with brother Wladimir have dominated the heavyweight division for more than a decade, has admitted he will be a keen observer of Tua’s Hydr8 ZERO David vs Goliath bout against Alexander Ustinov – and not just because the Russian is on the books of the brothers’ K2 Promotions.
Vitali is always looking for his next challenge and he has confirmed that if Tua can defeat Ustinov on August 31 he will move much closer to a title shot.
“Why not? David Tua has a good name and a good fight record,” Vitali told Television New Zealand. “Let’s see. David Tua versus Alexander Ustinov is not an easy fight but after that why not? Everything is possible.”
Tua, of course, has been inactive for two years but sent a message to the boxing world when he accepted the Ustinov fight.
The bout will pit the Tuamanator against the towering 6ft’ 8in” (203cm) Russian who has won 28 of his 29 professional boxing bouts earning him a top 10 ranking in both the WBA and IBF heavyweight divisions. With only one loss to IBF World No 1 Kubret Pulev, the four time K1 Grand Prix title winner represents Tua’s toughest assignment since his drawn contest against Hasim Rahman ten years ago.
But Vitali – a proud student of the fight game – is warning boxing fans, not to mention Ustinov, to refrain from under-estimating Tua.
“David Tua is a good fighter,” Vitali said. “He has had a great career and has a good fight record.
“He’s a good puncher, a very special opponent and that is why David Tua is world famous.
“Everybody knows David Tua, not just in New Zealand – everywhere in the world, in the United States and Europe and he’s a big name and that’s why David Tua is a good fighter for boxing.”
Duco Events’ David Higgins – the man who masterminded Tua’s return to the ring in 2009 and again now in 2013 – isn’t surprised by Vitali Klitschko’s comments.
“I’m not sure New Zealanders understand the high regard with which David Tua is held in around the boxing globe,” he said.
“The interest from potential broadcasters around the world in this fight is nothing like we have experienced before.
“My phone hasn’t stopped ringing since we announced the fight.
“What makes this comeback ‘real’ is that David has accepted the enormous challenge of stepping into the ring with this giant of man Alexander Ustinov.
“The easy option would have been to pick a bum and dress it up as a meaningful fight as he finds his feet again in the world of boxing.
“But, instead, he has worked harder than he ever has for the last six months and he’s literally aiming for the stars.
“Alexander Ustinov is a genuine contender but from David Tua’s point of view he is merely a stepping stone to the Klitschko’s and their belts.”
Higgins confirmed off-shore pay-per-view television deals for the Hydr8 ZERO David vs Goliath have already been secured in Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Australia.
Negotiations with broadcasters in Germany and North America are also underway meaning a potential audience for the fight of 200 million.
Vitali believes the global interest in the fight will only continue to build.
“This is the heavyweight division,” Vitali said. “We do not want to underestimate David Tua. He’s a great puncher with a left hook. We have to be very careful and that’s why before the fight there will be no prediction (from us). This fight will be very interesting. Two punchers…”
Hydr8 ZERO David vs Goliath
THE MAIN EVENT COMBATANTS:
· Olympic bronze medallist 1992
· Has knocked out four heavyweight world champions (John Ruiz, Oleg Maskaev, Hasim Rahman and Michael Moorer)
· Set a world record for punches thrown in a heavyweight fight (vs Ike Ibeabuchi in 1997
· Fought for the sports greatest prize, the Heavyweight Championship of the World in 2000
· Ranked No 48 greatest puncher of all time by Ring Magazine
· Won New Zealands Fight of the Century in 2009 in devastating style against Shane Cameron.
· His last punch in the ring, thrown in August 2011, broke the jaw of Monte Barrett and has just undergone 6 month brutal training camp and is in the best shape of his career
· Tua on fighting Ustinov: I told the guys at Duco that I would fight anyone. And I am a man of my word. Alexander will be a challenging opponent on a number of levels. But I need challenging. I am boxing again because I eventually want to have another shot at the heavyweight title. That chance will never come if I run from fights. And that is something I have never done. Im excited about the fight. The key now is to continue to work hard and make sure that come fight night I am in the best position possible to make a statement against Alexander and announce to the world that David Tua is serious about fulfilling his destiny.
RECORD: Wins 52 (KO 43), Lost 4, Drawn 2
· Stands 6 ft 8 inches tall
· Currently ranked within top 10 in the World IBF and WBA
· Only one loss, to World IBF number 1 ranked Kubrat Pulev
· Has won 28 of 29 Heavyweight Fights
· Awarded the prestigious medal Order of Courage for ‘Services to the Fatherland as a combat soldier in the Chechen campaign
· Four time winner one the K1 GP series (Russia and Spain in 2003 and Italy and Belgium in 2005)
· Promoted by the World Heavyweight Champion Klitschko brothers
· Is a former European Boxing Association heavyweight champion 2010-2012
· Is a former IBO Inter-Continental heavyweight champion
RECORD: Wins 28 (KO 21), Lost 1, Draws 0
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Corporate Table tickets are on sale at www.ducoevents.co.nz
Sponsor: Hydr8 ZERO