Patrick McKendry

Patrick McKendry is a rugby writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Tua injury could spark rescheduling scramble

If David Tua's calf injury forces his fight against Alexander Ustinov to be delayed then promoters Duco Events will be scrambling to reschedule the event mindful they will have to avoid clashes with other sports, most notably an All Blacks test.

More will be known about Tua's grade one calf tear later this week, and if needed the fight against Ustinov, slated for Hamilton's Claudelands Arena on Saturday, August 31, will be delayed for between three and four weeks, said Duco's David Higgins.

Many things would have to be considered when rescheduling a new date, including venue availability and broadcasting schedules. The night of the week also has to be considered - some nights are more popular with pay-per-view customers than others.

One of the biggest factors, however, is a clash with another major sporting event.

"It would be madness to go up against an All Blacks test,'' Higgins said.

A three or four-week delay would avoid such a clash but a shorter one would not, at least on a Saturday. On September 7 the All Blacks play Argentina in a Rugby Championship test at Hamilton's Waikato Stadium and a week later they play the Springboks at Eden Park. However, following that the All Blacks have a week off and a trip to Buenos Aires where they play the Pumas on Sunday, September 29 NZT.

Higgins said Tua's injury was minor and he was confident the fight would go ahead as planned. The 40-year-old would undergo further checks this week.

"This is one of the most credible heavyweight fights ever to be staged in New Zealand but that relies on both fighters being 100 per cent fit and we won't compromise on that. The stakes are too high - a loss could end a career,'' Higgins added.

"We've talked to Ustinov and he just shrugged his shoulders - he said he was relaxed about it. If it has to be pushed out he's happy with that, it gives him more time to train.''

Asked if it would be a major headache to reschedule the fight, which is likely to attract a crowd of about 5000, Higgins replied: ``You'd think it would be a huge pain and 10 years ago when I was starting out it would have been. But I've developed a thick skin. I've had celebrity chefs [Gordon Ramsay] pull out on me with three days notice and Shane Cameron broke his hand before a fight ... you have to be philosophical.''

- APNZ

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