David 'Tuaman' Tua Stands Tall Through Tragedy and Taxes for One More Run

Johnny WalkerCorrespondent IFebruary 9, 2011

The Tuamanator looks to get his mojo back in March
The Tuamanator looks to get his mojo back in MarchSandra Mu/Getty Images

The recent road has been a rough one for veteran heavyweight contender David "Tuaman" Tua, 38.

Not only did the Samoan warrior, who fights out of New Zealand, get knocked down for the first time in his long career last summer in Atlantic City, New Jersey against heavy underdog Monte Barrett, he has also been knocked for a loop outside of the ring, with tax problems and family illness and death dogging his path at every step.

As reported in stuff.co.nz, Tua recently lost his father-in-law, Suniula Liufau, to a rare flesh-eating disease. 

He also saw an aunt perish in the 2009 tsunami that ravaged Samoa and had both his mother and sister-in-law fall ill with cancer.

To add to all of that, Tua was hit by a $2.2 million tax bill and had the purses from his last three fights frozen by the government.

Tua, however, is determined to turn life's lemons into lemonade and to use adversity as inspiration to make one last run at a heavyweight title, a distinction which has somehow managed to elude his grasp to this point (Tua lost to former champ Lennox Lewis in 12-round unanimous decision in 2000).

"I have to man up... I have to stand tall," Tua says.

With a new co-manager, Va'aiga "Inga" Tuigamala, on board the Tuateam, the fighter, who also goes by the nickname "Tuamanator," is looking to get back on track, starting with a March 19 scrap with American heavyweight Demetrice King (15-19-0) in New Zealand.

The King fight serves to help Tua test a rehabbed left shoulder that he claims was injured in the lead-up to last summer's surprising draw with Barrett, hampering his performance.

It also is the last fight in a local television deal that has at times hampered Tua's ability to negotiate the best fights possible for himself.

After that, if all goes well, the Tuaman hopes to rematch Barrett in June and then move on to that coveted title shot.