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MOUNTAINEER Boxing title bout slated



Published: Sat, April 6, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



Local boxers Roland Commings and Etianne Whitaker also are fighting on the card.

By BOB ROTH

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

CHESTER, W.Va. -- Thirty-year old David Tua, a native of Faleatiu, Western Samoa, who has been fighting professionally since 1992, will be contending in a main event 12-rounder for Fres Oquendo's NABF heavyweight title at Mountaineer Race Track and Gaming Resort's The Harv April 13.

It is the top fight of a nine-bout card that has fellow heavyweights David Izon and Lance Whitaker in a co-feature and local boxers Roland Commings and Etianne Whitaker in undercard six-rounders.

The Tua/Oquendo bout combines a duo of top contending heavyweights who together have a 61-3 record with 47 KOs and is most significant to the future of the heavyweight division.

Top contender: Oquendo (22-0 with 13 KOs) is a native of San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is ranked third, fourth and fifth in the IBF, WBC and WBA among the world's heavyweights. Tua (39-3, 34 KOs), with one of the most devastating left hooks in boxing history, is ranked no worse than ninth in all world bodies, but he is coming off of two losses in his last four fights. Both were 12-round decision losses, the first in November 2000 to Lennox Lewis in a bid for the world championship and the other in August 2001 to Chris Byrd in an IBF elimination bout.

Tua talked from his training camp: "I am here in [Las] Vegas in my sixth week of training for this fight. Everything is working out well."

When asked about his opponent and the significance of this bout, Tua replied: "Oquendo is a beautiful boxer with a great record and this should be a great fight. It is a crucial fight for me because it is a must-win situation and I look forward to it."

Not looking ahead: Tua was asked about his future in the heavyweight division and what this fight means to that future. He said, "My main goal is to naturally win the world title, but I can't look that far ahead, right now I am ready to go physically and mentally and what is at stake is this fight, which holds the future for me."

When Tua's trainer, Kevin Barry, was asked what has been done with Tua and what he has to do to win against Oquendo, Barry said, "David's angles to his opponent were wrong even before the Lewis fight so we have his offensive approach different. Oquendo is difficult to fight and we have analyzed what has to be done against his very educated jab and that is to take that jab away from him."

Local ticket outlets for the card are Trax Lounge, 4250 New Road (330-799-2249), Dominos Lounge, 1630 Mahoning Avenue (330-799-2223), and Rachel's Steak and Seafood, 8586 South Avenue Extension (330-726-2900).




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