“There’s darkness and emptiness that I’ve never experienced in my whole career and I’m quite humble that I’ve got to experience them this time.” — David Tua
by Johnny Walker
As the pictures come out with Russian giant Alexander Ustinov facing up to David Tua, who tangle on August 31 in Hamilton, New Zealand, it doesn’t look promising for the heavyweight hero from Down Under.
Ustinov, it appears, has slimmed down considerably following his recent loss to highly ranked Kubrat Pulev, a fight in which Ustinov basically threw in the towel after taking a few hard shots from the Bulgarian.
It seems that the Pulev fight has caused Ustinov to re-evaluate his career, and he’s looking like a man on a mission against Tua.
As for Tua, the man has literally been through hell. He’s been bankrupted by a legal fight with former managers, been homeless for a spell, and saw his marriage break up after his last fight, a loss to American Monte Barrett.
Anybody who wants to root for an underdog, Tua is your man.
Tua ballooned to a reported 300+ pounds following his divorce, and is still dealing with the fallout from that. He’s been working with trainer Lee Parore to get in some semblance of shape, and has now moved on to Aussie legend Dave Hedgcock to take him the rest of the way.
David Higgins and Dean Lonergan of Duco Events — who American veteran heavyweight Monte Barrett has labeled “Dumb and Dumber,” saying they are throwing Tua to the wolves in his first fight since losing to Barrett in 2011 — have brought in perennial loser Julian Long, a 7’1″ foot tall punching bag who only proves size isn’t the only thing that matters in heavyweight boxing, to try emulate Ustinov’s style in sparring.
Good luck with that one.
One thing Tua has on his side this time is utter desperation. When he lost to Barrett, he saw a tantalizing contract to fight a Klitschko for a world title slip away. And victory was so agonizingly close, with Tua breaking Barrett’s jaw and almost knocking him out in the final round.
This time, Tua simply has to get it done. A trademark left hook to Ustinov’s jaw might just do the trick. But can a 40-year-old David Tua accomplish such a task? That contract to fight a Klitschko still tantalizes should he win.
His trainer Dave Hedgecock thinks he can.
“Of course, the first thing people want to know is whether or not David still has his power,” Hedgecock says.
“Well, I can tell you that I have sighted his famous left hook and the power is enormous.
“He’s honest with me. David demands a lot. He’s a guy who has knocked out four world champions, but he listens. He doesn’t think he knows it all. He wants to learn.
“And the great thing is I know David can feel that the power is coming back. He can feel the power is flowing. And that’s what I want because David Tua is a warrior and he wants to go to war.”
No doubt — Tua will have to go war to win this one.
“Training has been very, very ugly, but I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” Tua said today.
“I’ve got to keep pushing myself. There’s darkness and emptiness that I’ve never experienced in my whole career and I’m quite humble that I’ve got to experience them this time.”
He’s been through hell — and he still’s there, trying to fight his way out, trying to find the light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s hard to wish anything but the best for David Tua.