This piece comes courtesy of John Matheson and the NZ Sunday News
David Tua's run to a second title shot moved a step closer last night with financial terms for a blockbusting bout in California being signed off.
And while the deal with America's heavyweight pay-per-view broadcaster HBO isn't inked yet it's now almost certain that Tua will fight the undefeated American heavyweight Chris Arreola in September or October in a world title eliminator.
The winner of the bout will be guaranteed a shot at WBC champ Sam Peter early next year.
``We put our financial requirements to (Arreola's promoter) Dan Goossen and he responded in the affirmative,'' Tua's promoter Cedric Kushner told Sunday News from New York.
``The deal should be signed off within the next fortnight.''
The delay in finalising the deal has come about because Goossen has travelled to Germany for his charge Tony Thompson's challenge against IBF and WBO champ Wladimir Klitschko on July 12.
Kushner has submitted to Goosen's desire for the Tua fight to be held in Arreola's home state of California.
Sunday News understands the clash will take place either at the Los Angeles Lakers' stadium The Staples Centre or at the Home Depot Centre in Carson City the home stadium of David Beckham's LA Galaxy.
Tua in his first interview since October admitted he can't wait to go toe-to-toe with Arreola who many in the US media are picking to be the first Mexican American to win a heavyweight belt.
``I'm very excited,'' Tua said. ``It's a must-win fight and those are the type of fights you want to be involved in.''
``It's not the same buzz as it used to be, you know? Back in the day I had a `this is great' attitude but now, because I'm older and wiser, I won't get too emotional about the prospect of having another `big' fight.
``I am very focused and dead serious about what I want to do in boxing.
``Fighting for the world title and hoping to be world champion someday has kept me very serious. And this fight, if it happens, is a big stepping stone towards that.
``And I'm ready. In me, I'm ready.''
Since his 2005 comeback after two years in hiatus fighting his court battle with former managers Kevin Barry and Martin Pugh Tua has seen off seven opponents, knocking out five of them.
But because of a combination of family tragedies and his determination to oversee the on-going court battle he has been inactive in the ring since his second round win against Cerrone Fox in September.
Since Sunday News revealed the possibility of the Arreola fight last weekend, many US boxing websites are suggesting Tua's ring absence will count against him when he fronts Arreola.
After all, 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.
Two weeks ago he took his record to a perfect 24-0 when he destroyed the previously unbeaten heavyweight Chazz Witherspoon.
Tua though has dismissed the naysayers.
``It's a non-issue,'' said Tua who fought for the title in 2000 against Lennox Lewis.
``At the beginning of it all when I made up my mind to get back into the ring again I'd planned to fight seven times before I'd be ready for top flight competition.
``I've had seven fights so it's time to step up and this is a big step up.
``While I haven't been in the ring for a long time, I haven't lost focus.
``The reason why everything is so simple is because I know the only reason I am back in the ring is to be the heavyweight champion.
``It's not for fame or fortune the goal is to win the belt.
``It doesn't matter what line of work you are in, if your motive is clear you will always follow through.
``It doesn't matter how many times you fall, you will get back up and you will succeed.
``It took 36 years to have a different level of love for the sport of boxing. To be passionate about training. To love and enjoy the fatigue. Because I know the reason I am doing it.
“And because of that I've never lost focus since my last fight.
``My eye's been on the prize.''