James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Boxing: Tua prepared for 'tall order'

A ripped and ready David Tua says what motivated him to get into great shape was a fear of dying when he faces off against Belarusian Alexander Ustinov in Hamilton tomorrow night.

Tua, 40, tipped the scales at 107.5kg in front of a gathering of media, entourages and other onlookers at the pre-fight weigh in at the Claudelands Events Centre ahead of his career- defining clash tomorrow night.

His giant opponent Alexander Ustinov, the 2.03m decorated Belarusian former combat soldier weighed in 25kg heavier than his opponent at 132.9kg.

Tua, who turns 41 next week, said fighting Ustinov was a "tall order" which is an understatement as he is giving away 24 centimetres in height.

There were gasps when he removed his shirt to reveal a trim figure and many commentators saying he was in better shape than when he destroyed Shane Cameron in 2009.

But it was his response to what motivated him to get fit that surprised the audience.
"I don't want to die," he said.

"I'm in great shape and I trained very hard for this fight and I'm looking forward to this fight," he said.

"I have a lot of respect for my opponent who has come to fight obviously, he's an incredible opponent."

"It's a tall order, he's a big Russian."

Ustinov, through an interpreter, was coy about predicting if he would knock Tua out or when. He said he had enjoyed New Zealand and the support he had got from people here in the past - but that was in kickboxing matches against Australian opponents.

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"I'm not scared at all," he said.

"David has more responsibility and more pressure on him to perform."
The bookmakers at TAB have the two boxers as even for the win with both paying $1.87 for the victory.

Legendary boxing commentator Colonel Bob Sheridan said the undercard was a fantastic one and he was "98 per cent certain" the winner of the Daniel McKinnon and Robbie Berridge fight could have a bout against superstar Roy Jones Jr in New Zealand next year.

- APNZ

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