It is hard to find much about David Tua the fighter that is not fan friendly. He has a legendary knockout punch as his stoppages of heavyweight title holders Hashim Rahman, John Ruiz, Oleg Maskaev and Michael Moorer still to this day cap many highlight reels.
His personality outside the ring is very likable as it is that of the common everyday guy who puts his family and friends first while making sure he keeps in touch with his fans, letting them know he is grateful for their support.
He has accomplished great things in his career, such as taking part in the heavyweight bout where the most combined punches on record were thrown when he faced Ike Ibeabuchi in 1997.
Tua is second thus far only to Mike Tyson for producing the most first round knockdowns and his place on Ring Magazine's top 100 hardest hitters of all time is something to be proud o.
But there is one thing that has eluded David Tua and that is a world title.
While he challenged Lennox Lewis in 2000 for the heavyweight title, Tua came up short and that is something the 37 year old wants a second chance at in the worst of ways.
After a two year hiatus due to managerial contract disputes, where Tua found his finances were not exactly being used in the way presented to him, and legal restraints which prevented him from signing to face opponents in the ring, Tua is under no illusions.
He knows this is his last chance at success and he will only get another opportunity at a world title shot if he can be 100% successful in this campaign.
Since his return in November, 2009, Tua has two wins. A victory over fellow New Zealander Shane Cameron, taking Cameron's WBO Asia Pacific and Oriental regional straps in a two round blow out before going the distance with Friday Ahunanya to defend his regional belts in a bout in which Tua looked phenomenal, which was reflected on the judges scorecards.
While Cameron and Ahunanya are not among the best heavyweights in the world, they are formidable opponents especially given Tua's time off and considering the pair had a combined record of 56 wins, 4 losses and 33 knockouts.
The victories were the first step of David Tua showing he is serious as can be in his return to the ring.
Next up for Tua on July 17Th is Monte Barret, a one time top ten ranked fighter who still has something to offer in the department of grit and who is also in a do or die situation in this bout if he expects to continue as a serious player in the division.
Will Tua be successful on July 17Th? That is yet to be determined but earlier today, we were able to speak with David and learn what he did in his time away from the ring, his thoughts on opponent Barrett, his plans for the future and what we can expect to see from this version of David Tua that we haven't seen in the past, exclusively here on SaddoBoxing!
SaddoBoxing: How have things been going in training?
David Tua: "So far, all is well; just taking it one day at a time".
SB: This will be your third fight in approximately 10 months, a pretty active schedule especially among today's heavyweights; considering your two year layoff, is this schedule to help propel you back into the title mix?
DT: "Pretty much that is the approach, taking things one fight at a time. If all goes well for this fight then we will move on to the next one until we get where we need to be".
SB: In your first return bout you faced Shane Cameron, winning the WBO Asia Pacific and Oriental regional titles before defending the belts against Friday Ahunanya. In both bouts, you did not appear to have much ring rust; was there anything you were doing in the off time to keep you active?
DT: "I have a little veggie garden in the back yard [laughs] you will be amazed what you think about while working in the garden. It keeps you active as well. I have two boys, aged 14 and 12 to help keep me busy, going to sporting events through school, playing sports with them, teaching them things they need to know and grow up in life.
"It is important to approach things besides boxing with a positive attitude and pass it along even though I love boxing there are other things in life. It is important not to lose direction and to teach them that. Also, going to the gym often so I have been active during my time away".
SB: One thing I noticed when I watched both those fights is you appeared to be faster then you were before, especially in the Cameron bout when you let you fists fly for the stoppage in round two. Do you feel faster? Have you been working on anything to to add speed or did it just come naturally?
DT: "Well, the Tua of old was very predictable. Move head left, right, throw the left hook. You knew what I was going to do and everyone else did as well. I need to approach things differently now, I need to be a different person and not just in boxing but in life. There needs to be more to David Tua then just side to side and left hook.
"Shane Cameron came out and did the opposite of what he claimed he would do. I used more boxing and when I caught him, I hurt him on the ropes and that is why he was stopped so early. I tried to do more than the Tua of old, same thing goes for my last fight [against Friday Ahunanya]. I tried to be more rounded".
SB: On July 17Th you are going to step in with former world title challenger Monte "Two Guns" Barrett. Other than the usual David Tua, will we see anything new added to your arsenal?
DT: "I know what type of fighter Monte is and what he is capable of but I can not overlook anything. Boxing is a beautiful sport and you need to be prepared for anything. I am not going to look past this fight I am just going to do what I prepared for and then if I am successful we will look toward the future".
SB: After the Barrett bout, assuming you win what is next for David Tua? Do you have any fights lined up or is there anyone in your sights at the moment you would like to fight? Is there a choice of world champions you would like to face if the decision was put in your hands?
DT: "Opportunities are hard for me to come by. I daydream all day hoping I get blessed with another title shot. I can not keep daydreaming on it though I need to concentrate on Barrett right now. If I can't win this fight, the daydreams mean nothing. If a title shot comes, fantastic! It will be an honor to fight for the title again but if I don't win this next fight, it all means nothing, just daydreams".
SB: David I know you are short on time so I want to thank you for speaking with us but before we go, is there anything you would like to say to the fans who support you?
DT: "As always, the fans mean a lot to me, other than my family and team Tua, if not for the fans support it would not be the same. I was away for awhile, though not by choice, but during that time fans were supportive and still are. I approach life a bit different now but I always appreciate the fans".
SB: Thanks again and good luck on July 17Th.
DT: "Thank you for the opportunity".