Archives for posts with tag: David Tua

The Tuaman has seen his fortune vanish






By Johnny Walker


You could call it life imitating art, or vice-versa.

In the new FX boxing drama Lights Out, the main character, Patrick “Lights” Leary (Holt McCallany), 40, is a retired heavyweight champion who has blown through millions of dollars, while living in a too-lavish manner with his family in a New Jersey mansion.

In a recent episode, Lights, having been forced to face the reality of his situation, is forced to tell his stricken wife, “It’s gone. It’s all gone.”

It’s a story that veteran heavyweight contender David “Tuaman” Tua, 38, can identify with all too well.

Tua, a native of Samoa who fights out of New Zealand, is in many ways the real-life embodiment of “Lights” Leary. In the Sunday News, Tua has revealed that he and his family (Wife Robina, and two sons, Klein, 15, and Kaynan, 12), have been living in rental accommodations, and even had to move in with co-manager Inga Tuigamala at their lowest point.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The Tuaman earned approximately $12 million from his 2000 loss to heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

At one point, Tua owned a lavish penthouse apartment in Auckland, as well as other properties.

But problematic investments and a protracted legal battle with two ex-managers have left Tua in dire straits.

Tua’s legal bills ballooned to $4.2 million, and to add to his woes, he was also hit by a $2.2 million tax bill from the New Zealand government, which froze the purses from his last three fights.

“Everybody has this picture of David Tua, that he lives a life [of luxury]… but no,” Tua told the Sunday News.

Like “Lights” Leary, Tua has been forced to face up to the loss of his riches.

“I have sat down and really confirmed and put things into perspective. I have written things [goals] down and now want to make sure I stand by them.”

Uppermost on Tua’s mind is finding security and stability for his family. 

“The short-term goal is [hopefully] to put my family into a home,” Tua vowed. “That is the important goal for this year.”

Perhaps the most talented heavyweight on the current scene who has never won a world title belt, Tua is all too aware that time is not on his side.

“The reality is that I am not going to be a fighter forever,” Tua declares. “If I get another opportunity of fighting for the title, and hopefully winning it, it would be fantastic.”

“But if not, in five years that will be it.”

In the meantime, Tua insists that the loss of material possessions has its upside.

“Money doesn’t make you happy. So I don’t miss it… no,” the Tuaman says. “To be honest, I am a lot happier now than I was back in the days.”

Tua sees his struggles philosophically as part of the roadblocks we all face in getting where we want to go.

“Sometimes you go through certain journeys in life,” Tua reflects. 

“Sometimes they are simple, sometimes you get tested in ways where some people get through to the other side and others don’t.


David Tua (l), knocked down for the first time in his career by Monte Barrett in his last fight.

By Johnny Walker

Heavyweight contender David “Tuamanator” Tua of New Zealand still hopes to get a shot at some version of the heavyweight title.  Tua, 37, known for his lethal left hook and iron chin, was shockingly knocked down for the first time in his long career last time out in July against heavy underdog American Monte Barrett in Atlantic City. 

Tua later claimed that a shoulder injury had prevented him from properly preparing for the bout, an exciting draw that many fans felt Tua had actually lost. 

According to Tua’s promoter Cedric Kushner, the Tuamanator plans to fight twice more before challenging for a world title (if all goes well, that is).   Possible future bouts include a Barrett rematch (which Tua would certainly have to win by knockout in order to make up for last time), and fights with Hasim Rahman and/or (say it ain’t so!) Evander Holyfield

Many have jumped off the Tua bandwagon after the Barrett fight, and it remains to be seen if wins against ageing opposition like this will get them back on board. 

With Tua giving up considerable size, a fight against one of current champs Vitali or Wladimir Klitschko of Ukraine seems like a suicide mission; Britain’s David Haye might be a better prospect for Tua, but the WBA paper champ is adamant that he is retiring in a year’s time, not leaving Tua enough time to get in his much-needed preparation bouts.