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Biofile David Tua Interview


By Scoop Malinowski


STATUS: Former World Heavyweight Championship challenger vs. Lennox Lewis in 2000. Olympic bronze medalist in ’92.

HT: 5-10 1/2  WT: 244

BORN ON: Nov. 21, 1972 IN: Western Samoa

CHILDHOOD HEROES:  “Marciano, Louis, Frazier, Ali. My uncle Afutoto. He was not only good in school, but he was an all-around sportsman – cricket, volleyball, rugby and boxer. I was happy to hear about him, but I didn’t get to meet him. He passed away when I was seven.”

NICKNAMES: Terminator, The Destroyer, Sleeping Pills (“For putting guys to sleep.”), Good Night Nurse, The Tua Man.

PREFIGHT FEELING: “Quietly confident. Knowing that the preparation is done. Well-prepared from head to toe. Mentally, physically. Ready to go. I do a lot of praying. Not only for myself, I pray for my opponent. Sit down, stay calm, think about all the days, the nights, the mornings of running, the hard work preparing for the fight. Think about my family. When I climb through them ropes I have to bring on the beast. That means I have to keep my eyes on (the opponent) at all times. Don’t lose focus. He’s gonna try to steal my dreams.”

EARLY BOXING MEMORY: “I didn’t like boxing when I was younger. I remember trying to lift up the gloves when I was five…just too heavy. Then, as life goes on, my father (Tuavale), who owned a convenience store, used to call the grown-up guys and told them to spar with me. If they hurt me, he’d reward them with a sweet. And I got a strap. It was because of that I didn’t want to do boxing anymore. We moved to New Zealand in 1984, for a better future. It was then that I started liking boxing. My dad probably saw something good in me a long time ago. He saw I could become what I am today.”

HOBBIES/INTERESTS: “Try my best to listen to God’s words. Read the Bible and communicate with him in prayer. Spend time with family, friends and loved ones. Write poetry, lyrics, play guitar and shoot pool.”

FAVORITE MOVIES: “The Ten Commmandments, Ben-Hur, The Three Stooges, Dumb & Dumber, Ace Ventura, Tommy Boy, Black Sheep.”

MUSICAL TASTES: “Country, Dwight Yoakam, Dolly Parton, Tanya Tucker, Jerry Clark, Christian choir music. I appreciate all music. Because it all has a little message inside that can make a difference in my life or anybody’s.”

FAVORITE MEAL: “Mom’s cooking, but pretty much anything.”

FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR: “Have to be vanilla, bro.”

GREATEST SPORTS MOMENT: “I think the greatest sports moment for me would have to be fighting for the title (vs. Lennox Lewis in 2000). Just the fact I was going to finally fight for the title. I was finally getting the opportunity, the chance to fight and challenge for the world heavyweight title.”

MOST PAINFUL MOMENT:  “Losing the title fight [laughs]. Not being able to capitalize on what I know I can do. Not being able to perform to the best of my ability. I think that was the most disappointing – to be totally honest. I really thought we would have capitalized on my inability in the ring – capitalize, come forward and take you out of there. On top of that, I think it was a great learning experience fight for me. It was just one of those learning opportunities that are very, very hard to sometimes come by. But I’m glad that I learned it, at the highest level of my career. And to be totally honest, there was more good that came out of that than I can see in my career at this stage.”

FAVORITE BOXERS: “I like to watch everybody. Everybody has a different style, a little something to offer I can learn from, to help me. Deep inside my head I know what fighters go through. I appreciate them all and the pain barriers they go through to accomplish their goals.”

TOUGHEST OPPONENTS:  “Honestly, me, personally, it didn’t matter if it didn’t go the distance. Every fight were hard fights, physically and mentally. I think more harder mentally than physically. I mean, the physical part always dies out. But I truly believe that all the guys I’ve fought were hard fights. Because I respect the fact that only fighters know what other fighters go through. At times the fans don’t get to experience and understand what the fighters go through, in their preparation. That’s my take and my look at the guys I’ve fought. They were all hard fights.”

HARDEST PUNCHERS:  “Everybody. I’m being truthful. Everybody’s different. The way I look at it, just because I have a good chin doesn’t mean I’m going to be out there flaunting it [smiles]. Or puttin’ it out there so guys could hit it. So I couldn’t tell who hit me the hardest. To be totally honest, where ever they hit you, man – your forearm, your biceps, your shoulder – it hurts. You don’t have to be hit in the face to know somebody punches hard. I mean, it’s like sometimes looks can be very deceiving at times. You look at a guy who’s slim, doesn’t have much muscle, I can tell you, You better have respect for the man. Because the fact is, you have to be respectful for them getting in that ring with you. Really, they say the punch you don’t see is the punch that hurts you the most. What I’m trying to say is, Any punch that hits you on any part of your body – they do hit you – it hurts, me, personally.”

FUNNY BOXING MEMORY:  “Oh yeah, when I was in the corner with Lou Duva, early in my career. And Lou was trying to get me fired up, Come on! Come on, man! I was just being crazy, so I said to Lou, Lou, do you want to take over [laughter]?! Yeah, Lou talked to Ronnie Shields and said, What’s the matter with this kid? Is he allright up there? Is he all up there? But that was me being crazy with Lou. Because Lou was constantly yelling, Come on Dave, throw more punches! Turn ’em, turn ’em over! I mean, it wasn’t funny then, but the more you think about it…”
PEOPLE QUALITIES MOST ADMIRED:  “I admire and respect anybody. I think that’s the greatest thing about America – Freedom of Speech. You’re allowed to speak what you believe and what you feel. But saying that, I respect people. They don’t have to be whatever for me to respect them. But more than anything, I think I love hangin’ out with the old, common people. Kick back with the common people.”



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