David Tua has knocked out four men who have held a heavyweight title belt – Hasim Rahman, John Ruiz, Oleg Maskaev, Michael Moorer – but he is still seeking to capture his first world title. Tua’s comeback continues July 17 under trainer Roger Bloodworth, when he will meet Monte Barrett in Atlantic City. Tua’s latest comeback after managerial problems, began last October with a two-round KO win over unbeaten and ranked prospect Shane Cameron. In March of this year the 1992 Olympic bronze medalist won a 12 round decision against Friday Ahunanya. Now 37, and in his 18th year as a pro, Tua’s record is 51-3-1 (43 KO’s).
Tua, presently ranked #2 by the WBO and the current WBO Asia/Pacific Heavyweight champion, took time out of training in Jersey City, NJ to talk about Barrett, meeting Mike Tyson, Lewis vs. Ibeabuchi, his best performances, his toughest chinned opponents, and more…
BoxingInsider: What will it take to beat Barrett?
David Tua: “Everything. It’s gonna take everything. It’s not gonna take just one punch, it’s gonna take more than that. This I know. I’m looking forward to it. And it’s gonna be a good fight. And I’m gonna be very prepared for it.”
BoxingInsider: What most concerns you about Barrett?
David Tua: “You can’t overlook nothing. You cannot overlook the jab, you cannot overlook the right hand. I’m gonna be prepared for whatever he does.”
BoxingInsider: Of all you fights, which do you feel was your finest, best performance, where you felt at your very best?
David Tua: “Probably the last (W12 Ahunanya). Respectfully, to those that taught me the art of boxing – I’m talking about Georgie Benton, Ronnie Shields, to name a few – I believe that the last two fights are probably my greatest, in many ways. Because it’s like I’m given the freedom to be confident to try new things. It’s not just ARRRRR, ARRRR (simulates loading up on one punch). I’m given the freedom to dance more. Not just for the sake of dancing, for the sake of making movements, but enjoying it. Whatever comes to mind, I’ll try it. I’m not afraid to try new things now. The slogan is – if you train the same way and expect a different result, I believe it’s time for me to check myself in a rehab center. For me, it’s important to try new things and so what? Whatever happens. But I’m willing to try new things and have another go. The last two fights it’s been really like my path to make me the person I am today. Those who I fought have molded me to be the fighter I am now. Hooking up with Pops (Roger Bloodworth) is awesome. He’s taken me back to what boxing is all about.”
BoxingInsider: You boxed against Lennox Lewis and Ike Ibeabuchi (lost on points to both). Who do you think would have won a Lewis-Ike clash of titans?
David Tua: “I’ll probably have to give Ike – not only was he a good boxer, he was a fighter, a brawler as well. Lewis (was) the same thing. I think, respectfully, I would have to give Ike the edge. But you know, to say the least, Lennox was a great athlete, I learned a lot from him.”
BoxingInsider: What was it about Ike that made him so good?
David Tua: “He had a good chin. he could take some good shots. And he wasn’t shy to mix it up.”
BoxingInsider: He was a smart fighter too right? I remember Chris Byrd said he was very intelligent in the ring.
David Tua: “Yeah, of course. Yeah, very, very smart fighter. He would throw punches from angles, movements, I think he was pretty much the whole thing – a complete fighter. He didn’t just rely on the left hook or right hand, he gave me a lot of different looks. It just happened that my will and I kept the faith throughout the fight. And I came prepared for that fight as well. I thought I had done enough to win. When you’re fighting the champion (Tua was WBC International champ), respect to that, it’s almost like you have to go get it. I think I learned a lot from that fight.”
BoxingInsider: That was a brutal fight that broke the record for punch output for heavyweight, both of you landed over 1,000 punches. How long did it take to recover from that bout?
David Tua: “To be totally honest, a week later I was fine. A couple days after the fight I was just kicking back with the family, relaxing. By the weekend I was ready to go.”
BoxingInsider: Who were the strongest chinned opponents you faced?
David Tua: “I think David Izon was one of them. There’s a few. Sometimes a guy can bring so much into a fight that you go head hunting and you forget the other principles and other basics of what the sweet science is all about. With that in mind, I feel that those are the younger guys that come to mind, that got good beards, man. They’ve got good beards, man! Ike.”
BoxingInsider: Did you ever meet Mike Tyson?
David Tua: “He’s ann awesome human being and I always wanted to meet him. I met him once at the weigh in of the Orlin Norris fight in Las Vegas. That was the first time and the last. He was bending over, tying his shoe (Tua imitates the scene) and he looked up at me (from the side) and gave a kind of smile. That was it [smiles]. It was awesome.”
Stay tuned next week for David Tua’s Exclusive Analysis of all the key players of the current heavyweight division and his thoughts about if it truly is a “weak heavyweight era.”