Tua vs. Ustinov: David vs. Goliath

By Ted Sares on June 30, 2013
Tua vs. Ustinov: David vs. Goliath
“I eventually want to have another shot,” says Tuaman, “at the heavyweight title.” (Ecksel)

If the giant Ustinov leans on Tua and smothers him inside, he should be able to sap his strength and win by late stoppage or boring UD…

“With one punch David Tua could send a message to the Klitschko brothers. The punch will be heard in the far reaches of Eastern Europe because if he can knock out Alexander Ustinov, David Tua would have proved himself as (a) capable of beating tall opponents, (b) marketable because of his power, and (c) worthy of a title shot against Wladimir or Vitali.”—David Higgins (Duco Events)

“The interest from potential broadcasters around the world in this fight is nothing like we have experienced before.”—Higgins

“I’m boxing again because I eventually want to have another shot at the heavyweight title.”—David Tua

’‘I know that the economic benefits of something like this are quite far-reaching and they go on for a while, it’s not just on the night of the event.”—Hamilton City Councilor Angela O’Leary

George Foreman was in incredibly great shape when he stopped a game 5’5” Dwight Muhammad Qawi in 1988, but the “Camden Buzzsaw” gave an extremely solid accounting and buzzed Big George on more than one occasion. Tua’s people need to study the footage of this fight. And maybe Ustinov’s camp should take a hard and long look as well. It was competitive boxing at its best.

Freaks at the Gate

Giant Aussie Lucas Browne pounds on a slurring and bloated human punching bag that one day will enter the International Boxing Hall of Fame; limited Kimbo Slice tours remote spots in the Heartland “winning” fights against unknowns by spectacular and dramatic last-second knockouts reminiscent of Mark Gastineau’s equally onerous tour; ex-Australian rugby players beat seasoned boxers like Frans Botha via Dry Gulch-type decisions; Roy Jones continues on; and Dereck “Del Boy” Chisora behaves badly and bizarrely.

Yes, the freakish side of boxing raises its ugly head from time to time. But what do you call it when a 6-foot-8-inch, 300-pound Russian/Belarusian monster with a 28-1 record goes up against a rotund and aging 5-foot-9-inch Samoan boxer coming out of retirement a second time? Some might say it’s another boxing-diminishing freak show. However, keeping in mind the surprising degree of competitiveness between Forman and Qawi, I’ll label it “David vs. Goliath.” In this case, David’s weapon is not a sling and five stones but a potentially lethal left hook.

Speaking of Goliath, the 36-year-old Alexander “The Great” Ustinov beat American gatekeeper Monte “Two Gunz” Barrett in 2009. Barrett is the only man to deck David Tua (52-4-2) in a bout that ended in a draw that very same year. Monte then beat Tua in their rematch in Manukau City, New Zealand on August 13, 2011, after which the “Tuaman” announced his second retirement.

Looking back: 1992-2007

It was 16 years ago when David Tua went to war with Ike Ibeabuchi in what would be a non-stop heavyweight classic as the two combined to set the record for most punches thrown in a heavyweight fight. The fast-rising Samoan, known for his early and vicious KOs, then reeled off 10 straight wins with all but one coming by way of a stoppage. It took Tua just seven total rounds to get rid of Gary Bell, Shane Sutcliff, Obed Sullivan (Tua ballooned to 253 pounds for this one), and Robert Daniels (all in Nevada), setting himself up for a 2000 fight with champion Lennox Lewis at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas for the IBO heavyweight title. David lost a decision in a dreadfully boring affair in which both combatants were too tentative but one in which Lewis’s height advantage played a major role in the one-sided outcome.

After the Lewis disappointment, David lost to crafty Chris Byrd in 2001 but then beat hot prospect Fres Oquendo in a sudden and thrilling come-from-behind assault in the ninth round. In what could be called the highlight of his long and distinguished career that began in 1992, he put ex-heavyweight champion Michael Moorer into a state of unconsciousness in just 30 seconds in Atlantic City in 2002—some 17 seconds longer than it took him to sedate future heavyweight champion John Ruiz in 1996—this frightening KO also coming in Atlantic City.

A draw with Hasim Rahman in 2003 visibly signalled that Tua was slowing down, though he still possessed one of the most powerful left hooks in boxing. (Tua was ranked 48th on Ring Magazine’s list of 100 greatest punchers of all time in 2003.) His career was also hampered by promotional disputes and after the Fox KO in 2007 for which he weighed a fit and ready 234 pounds, a discouraged David Tua said goodbye.


However, the Tuaman came back with a vengeance two years later and blew away Shane Cameron (23-1) in a much anticipated and much watched fight in Hamilton, New Zealand. This was Tua at his most vicious as he butchered and bloodied Cameron in a manner that was scary to witness. Amazingly, however, Cameron then came back to KO none other than Monte Barrett in an equally malevolent manner in July 2012 for the WBO Asia Pacific heavyweight title. This KO, like many of Tua’s, was of the highlight reel variety. Monte Barrett had suddenly become a measuring stick for the heavyweight division in the Pacific Rim.

After going the unaccustomed distance in four straight bouts (46 rounds) against Friday Ahunanya, Monte Barrett, trial horse Demetrice King, and Barrett again for a 2-1-1 tally, Tua again said goodbye.


“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…”—Vitali Klitschko

Now the training-challenged Samoan is set to return for another go on August 31 and to his credit, he has picked a formidable foe. Says Tua, “I told the guys at Duco that I would fight anyone…I’m 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

The rub on Tua is that, like Riddick Bowe, losing weight and getting into shape has never been high on his priority list. But possibly of more importance is the fact he is currently entangled in complex legal and financial issues that may be the real motivation for this return.

Interest in this fight is building rapidly, as negotiations with broadcasters in Germany and North America are reportedly underway, meaning an amazing potential audience for the fight of 200 million.

As an aside, Ustinov, who holds a 53-9 kickboxing record, reportedly has a background as a combat soldier and took part in four combat operations on the Chechen border where his heroics saw him awarded the prestigious Order of Courage for ‘services to the Fatherland.’ But it did him little good when he was beaten up and stopped in the 11th round by 6’4” Bulgarian beast Kubrat “The Cobra” Pulev in September 2012 in Germany.

In the final analysis, if the giant Ustinov leans on Tua and smothers him inside, he should be able to sap his strength and win by late stoppage or boring UD—that is, as a long as the giant can avoid being hit by one of Tua’s five stones.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Boxing: Tua will be ready

Ike Ibeabuchi vs David Tua (Highlights)

David Tua vs. Michael Moorer

Tua vs Ruiz

Shane Cameron knocks out Monte Barrett 5/07/2012

David Tua Unleashed HD

ZBTV: David Tua

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  1. Ted 05:56am, 07/08/2013

    OK Ants

  2. Ants 07:12pm, 07/07/2013

    I went to the Tua Cameron fight in the Tron It was Awesome…
    Tua was an animal he destroyed the younger fitter and taller man like he was a child.
    My moneys on Tua for a 3rd round Knockout!
    You saw it here first!!!

  3. Ted 12:50pm, 07/03/2013

    But for some strange reason, this one intrigues the hell out me. Maybe it’s the background story involving Tua’s legal and financial issues.

  4. NYIrish 11:49am, 07/03/2013

    These two lobs may redefine the word clumsy. They have not improved with age.

  5. The Krusher 11:06pm, 07/02/2013

    an eleven inch height advantage makes this freaky deaky.  The hulk will be pounding on the top of the midget’s head.

  6. Ted 06:32pm, 07/02/2013

    You guys amaze me with your knowledge—and I don’t mean historical knowledge which can be goggled; I mean knowledge of boxing. Of styles, defense, parry’s, feints, how to throw uppercuts, how to set back on a punch, the different levels of defense, etc., etc., This kind of knowhow is a prerequisite to writing or posting about boxing in a serious manner. But again, just my opinion.

  7. strongman 06:23pm, 07/02/2013

    I love to study styles its the most important part of matchmaking when Tua was with the Duvas he was lean mean and fought a very tough schedual of heavyweights and was sparring with Holyfield and a young AndrewGolata when he went with the Goosens thats when he became lazy and was feasting on easy prey right before Lewis.

  8. Eric 06:10pm, 07/02/2013

    Styles make fights. Hagler vs. Duran, Duran vs. Hearns, Hagler vs. Hearns, or Ali vs. Frazier and Norton, Foreman vs. Frazier and Norton, Ali vs. Foreman. Happens all the time.

  9. Ted 05:01pm, 07/02/2013

    Right on both accounts, Strong. Tua waxed Oleg, of course. Boxing logic is crazy logic.

  10. strongman 01:40pm, 07/02/2013

    Rahman had Tua’s number and I always felt he was robbed both fights but Oleg had Rahman’s number.even Rahman admits it.

  11. Ted 12:09pm, 07/02/2013

    Irish, Same thing against Oquendo. He was getting schooled by Fres before he launched a surprise assault in the late rounds to snatch victory from a very bad defeat.

    You could never count David out because of his left hook.

  12. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 11:37am, 07/02/2013

    Ted Sares-Tua fought like a dadgummed tiger against Ike but was more like a Paper Tiger when he “fought” Lennox…..he gave the impression from the first minute of the fight that he really didn’t want to do too much to get Lewis’ attention…..for whatever reason.

  13. strongman 08:21am, 07/02/2013

    Qawi was a very underrated fighter Foreman fought a year from his comeback he lost a lot of weight but he still showed a lot of rust and was still finding his weight that would suit him but the clubbing took a toll on the smaller Qawi. Foreman was just grossly out of shape for Alex Stewart he had loose skin everywhere and was out out breath by round 3 and made a fatal error of letting Stewart off the hook in round 2.

  14. Ted 08:02am, 07/02/2013

    Eric , agreed and even Foreman commented that he had been buzzed by the Buzzsaw.

    Of course Alex Stewart gave him all he could handle and made his face look like a pizza pie. judge: Art Lurie 94-93 | judge: Dalby Shirley 94-93 | judge: Patricia Morse Jarman 94-94 very close.

  15. Eric 07:57am, 07/02/2013

    Qawi might’ve been nearly a foot shorter and about forty pounds overweight, but the bout was far from a “mismatch.” In fact, Qawi was one of the few opponents who even gave Foreman a “fight” on his way to gaining the title for the second time. Qawi did far better than Smokin’ Joe, a fighter whom he was often compared to.

  16. The Krusher 07:11am, 07/02/2013

    Thanks Dr. YouTube

  17. strongman 06:40am, 07/02/2013

    Foreman vs Qawi Foreman was a record low 235lbs and Qawi was supposed to fight Bert Cooper when the Foreman gave him an offer. Qawi at the weigh in claimed he knew it was a mismatch all he said Foremans arms were bigger than Qawis legs   the Buzzsaw did his best .

  18. Ted 06:09am, 07/02/2013

    “Lacyfied” great stuff FD!

  19. FrankinDallas 04:23pm, 07/01/2013

    Ustinov is a stiff. In his prime, Tua would have Lacyfied him, but now, who knows.

  20. Dr. YouTube 03:52pm, 07/01/2013



  21. Dr. YouTube 03:51pm, 07/01/2013

    11.10.2008. O2 World Arena, Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany. 8 round heavyweight bout. Alexander Ustinov (Russia) VS Julius Long (USA).


  22. The Krusher 02:38pm, 07/01/2013

    Any footage on the giant?

  23. Ted 01:08pm, 07/01/2013

    Lewis was scared of Tua’s left and Tua was scared of Lewis’s right. It made for a dreadful affair.

  24. strongman 12:56pm, 07/01/2013

    The Lewis fight was one of the most disappointing fights it was obvious when Tua tasted the first right hand he said screw this he is not going in Lewis range. Tua ate a world record of jabs all night. Chris Byrd boxed a masterpiece and Tua was in shape that night ‘

  25. Ted 12:08pm, 07/01/2013

    Nice to see Ron Lipton drop by.

  26. Ted 12:06pm, 07/01/2013

    Boxing logic:

    Barrett beat Tua.

    Cameron sends Barrett to an unconscious state.

    Tua slaughters Cameron.

    Go figure!

  27. Ted 12:00pm, 07/01/2013

    It seems only like yesterday that Tua iced Ruiz in 19 seconds.

  28. Don from Prov 10:48am, 07/01/2013

    Tua is the endless decade

  29. Dr. YouTube 10:11am, 07/01/2013

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RHDZhLdzGtk  Foreman vs. Qawi rounds 5-7


  30. Ted 09:57am, 07/01/2013

    Well thanks gents, I’m going to do some weight training but will do some replies when I return. Much appreciate you comments,

  31. Eric 09:37am, 07/01/2013

    It just seems that fighters like Tua, Tyson, Marciano, Frazier aka the short powerful “swarmers” who rely on strength and conditioning to bull their way in, don’t have very long shelf lives. Of course Marciano retired before he grew old, and the first Ali fight did as much for deteriorating Frazier skills as his age. But these types of fighters have to be in such fantastic condition, to absorb punishment while moving in, and overwhelming larger men, that type of condition is hard to maintain for a long run and even more so for a middle-aged man to attempt to get into that type of condition. Add to the fact that Tua has been inactive. It just doesn’t bode well for Tua, but I would love to see him get another crack at the title. But to be honest at this point even if Tua gets past this test, he doesn’t even remotely stand a chance at either Klit brother.

  32. Tex Hassler 09:10am, 07/01/2013

    David Tua’s fight with Ike Ibeabuchi is one of the classic heavyweight fights in the modern era. I think Tua actually took something out of Ike because Ike went toe to toe and he was never the same after that fight. Few men have ever had the power that Tua had in either hand. If he can come back at his age now is questionable. When he was younger if Charlie Goldman could have trained him David would have fought on another level. Goldman died in the late 1960’s and there is no trainer alive today who had his skills.

  33. kid vegas 09:02am, 07/01/2013

    The videos on this article are among the best I have ever seen. The two quick knockouts were astonishing, even to a cynic from beautiful Lake Las Vegas. Where do you get them?

  34. strongman 08:02am, 07/01/2013

    Tyson wanted NO part of Tua and in an interview once said he was envious how Tua could come back with one punch after taking a beating for 10 rounds to win a fight .

  35. Eric 07:53am, 07/01/2013

    Tua is definitely not at optimum weight and looks quite chunky. I’m rooting for a Tua victory but I just don’t see it at this stage of his career. Hard for me to believe he’s training hard by looking at his weight and the above clip. He moves around slowly and almost like the middle-aged man he has become. I honestly believe had Tua met Tyson after Tyson’s prison release he would’ve taken Mike out, hell, even in a prime vs prime matchup, the heavy-fisted Tua would definitely have a chance against Tyson. I can’t help but wonder if Tua’s latest comeback fails, if he won’t wind up doing some strange MMA and/or kickboxing farce like Riddick Bowe or Ray Mercer.

  36. RonLipton 07:39am, 07/01/2013


    Here are two David Tua fights I refereed.  When his weight was down and he kept it down, he had one of the heaviest left hooks imaginable.  His right hand was a force too.  His demolition of Ruiz and Moorer say it all.

    When his weight increased his power declined as his speed and delivery were drastically altered.

  37. strongman 07:22am, 07/01/2013

    Can you believe Robert Daniels is looking to fight again at age 46 he tried to comeback in 2012 and was stopped in 3 I remember what a mismatch him and Tua were in 2000.

  38. strongman 07:14am, 07/01/2013

    A one foot difference in height Tua is under 5 foot 10

  39. peter 07:07am, 07/01/2013

    It would be nice to see Tua pull off an upset. His only chance, it seems to me, would be a short left hook to Ustinov’s belly in close—probably early in the fight before Tua tires.

  40. EZ E 06:59am, 07/01/2013

    Tua wasted away good prime years fighting more against his promoters than against top fighters that would’ve gave him some financial security. It’s a shame to see Tua, former owner of THEE MOST FEARED left hook in boxing, reduced to his present (non) status. Would love to see him land HIS PRIME left hook just one mo’ time before Ustinov’s dimensions take their enevitable toll?? Is there ONE last hurrah for The Tua-Man?? hmmm… I really hope so, just one mo’ time!

  41. peter 06:55am, 07/01/2013

    Because of Tua’s advanced age and his expanded stomach girth, his speed looks like a thing of the past, and his short reach appears to be 3-4 inches shorter. (To illustrate my point, just look at him shadow boxing in the clip above.)

  42. Eric 06:51am, 07/01/2013

    I was amazed when watching the Qawi-Foreman fight for the first time. I thought it would have ended up as a Foreman-Frazier but only much easier, since Qawi’s best days were as a light heavy and he was at least 4” shorter than Frazier. Qawi was always an underrated boxer and had a much better defense than either Frazier or Tua for that matter. A Tua vs Tyson match sometime after Tyson’s prison release would have been a classic. The Tua vs Lewis bout was a bore, with Tua having difficulties contending with the height and reach of Lewis. A prime Tua would have a chance at cutting a 6’8” giant in half, but an overweight, rusty, 41 year old version that keeps retiring doesn’t exactly inspire hope for a Tua victory.

  43. Ted 06:48am, 07/01/2013

    Strong, I agree in principal, but when he came back against Cameron, he was an animal. If he can club this giant with his left and then stagger him, he might have enough left to finish him off, But yes, if his timing is off, he will not have the wherewithal to use the heavy punch. Agreed on that.

    I suspect the monster will lean and clinch and wear him out and then force him to quit in his corner. It will be ugly but a very good payday for Tua.

  44. strongman 06:41am, 07/01/2013

    Ted my point I feel he hit that point where its lost my science on punchers the explosive type Tua Tyson Frazier do lose their punch because they rely on speed and timing where heavy punchers Foreman Vitali Liston had a heavy punch that lasts much longer plus they had a heavy jab .

  45. Ted 06:26am, 07/01/2013

    But the last thing that a puncher loses is his power.

  46. strongman 06:09am, 07/01/2013

    Qawi had a lot more in his tank in 87 against Foreman than Tua has today Ustinov is also no Foreman but needs this win and I see him just clubbing Tua till he collapses Tua again lost that snap on his left hook remember how Fraziers left had no steam against Jumbo Cummings and how guys like Cobb and Mercer lost that chin overnight only so much you can take.

  47. MRBILL-HARDCORE XXX 05:48am, 07/01/2013

    Tua is done here in 2013…. Expect Tua to weigh somewhere around 255 to 260 pounds and be slow as a snail….....

  48. dollarbond 05:43am, 07/01/2013

    You gotta be kidding!

  49. Ted 05:13am, 07/01/2013

    I tend to agree Strong.

    Paul, there s no logic in Boxing

    Darrell, he needs money badly and will make a ton of it in this fight.

  50. strongman 05:11am, 07/01/2013

    Tua’s style is one that has a very short lifespan short explosive heavyweights die quick.Tua’s once cement chin is cracked and his one punch power is more of a heavy push he could come in at 226 lbs his body still has lost 3 steps .

  51. Paul 01:35am, 07/01/2013

    Yes, this seems unnecessary. His fight with Ibeabuchi was a brutal clash of epic testosterone fueled proportionals (whether natural or synthetic). He really can top what he has done now. Logic says NO.

  52. Darrell 09:12pm, 06/30/2013

    Sell something David, change tires for a living, anything….just don’t fight again.

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