Written by John Matheson
Monday, 30 June 2008 19:00
This piece comes from FOTSS John Matheson, of the New Zealand Sunday News. Thanks John!
David Tua is one fight away from redemption.
That's the remarkable news today as Sunday News can reveal the Tuaman has signed up for a title elimination bout against unbeaten American Chris Arreola.
The prize for the winner of that match-up is a money-spinning date with WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter.
It means Tua whose career has been cruelly hijacked by legal battles will finally get the chance to try and land one of the belts he last challenged for against Lennox Lewis in 2000.
Last night Tua's New York-based promoter Cedric Kushner met with representatives from US pay TV network HBO and was about to ink the deal.
Arreola's promoter Dan Goossen was also believed to be at the meeting.
"Things are happening quickly," Kushner told Sunday News.
"The fight against Arreola could happen as early as September.
"The winner of that fight is guaranteed a shot at the title.
"I'm excited for David. If anyone deserves the chance to fight on sport's biggest stage again, it's him."
Tua has cancelled his scheduled fight in the Ukraine on July 12.
Kushner explained that the stakes were too high to risk an injury so close to the Arreola fight.
It will mean Tua will go into the Arreola bout after a year of inactivity following a combination of family tragedies and on-going court action against his former managers conspired to keep him out of the ring.
Tua, though, is unconcerned about not having fought since his second round knockout of Cerrone Fox last September his seventh consecutive win since his comeback in 2005.
Said Kushner: "David told me that he feels that if he gets 60 days training in before the fight he can take on anyone, anywhere."
And Tua won't be starting from scratch when he joins up with his Arizona-based trainer Roger Bloodworth next month.
He's been sparring with a number of local boxers in his south Auckland gym in recent weeks and is understood to have again acquired the services of the highly sought after personal trainer Lee Parore to fine-tune his fitness before heading
to the US.
"David's in a very good place both physically and mentally," Kushner said.
"He's been patient, waited for his opportunity and now it looks like it's here."
Tua whose bout against Lewis in Las Vegas still rates as the single biggest sporting event to appear on New Zealand television will need to be at his peak to get past Arreola and earn the right to fight for a belt.
Despite his inactivity, Tua is ranked 23rd in the world while all four of boxing's world governing bodies have Arreola in the top 15.
The WBC ranks him as the No 7 heavyweight in the world and the IBF has him ranked No 10.
Last week he took his record to a perfect 24-0 when he destroyed the previously unbeaten heavyweight Chazz Witherspoon.
Bloodworth is excited about his charge going up against Arreola, whose profile has exploded since the win against Witherspoon.
"Going up against Dave will be a big step up for him," Bloodworth, a former trainer of champion Evander Holyfield, said.
"And I can tell you Dave is looking forward to stepping up his competition and getting to that championship fight he craves."