David Tua dominated all ten rounds of the 'Backyard Battle' against Demetrice King this evening, to claim a decisive victory in front of his hometown fans in Manukau.
Many believed Tua required a knockout against King to stay in the hunt for another title challenge, but his unquestionable command over his opponent throughout the fight may just have been the next best thing.
The fight was scored unanimously in Tua's favour, and the decision was never in doubt as King's defensive approach proved to be as puzzling as it was unproductive.
King endured several powerful salvos from Tua, particularly in the later rounds as he was repeatedly pinned against the ropes, but never looked like going down despite Tua's best efforts towards the finish.
King threw the first punches of the match, letting fly with a series of right jabs, but Tua quickly took control and his tight grip on the fight was rarely challenged by his oddly docile opponent.
The jab was Tua's main weapon of choice in the opening rounds as he probed for an opening in King's defence, often following up with a double left hook or an uppercut.
King held firm however, and despite a marked lack of aggression, was largely unhurt in the opening exchanges.
The ordinarly orthodox King even attempted to throw Tua off by fighting south paw in the fourth round, but the ploy proved ineffective against the seasoned Tua, who adjusted quickly, forcing King to change back.
King weathered powerful body shots when Tua couldn't pierce his defence, and let his guard slip as the fight wore on.
Tua continued to use his left jab throughout the middle rounds, often bending his knees to get low before climbing into a powerful punch.
King taunted Tua from the ropes in round six, daring him to have a swing by dropping his guard and beckoning him forward.
But once again, the move had little effect, as Tua carried on unphazed by King's disrespect.
Tua managed more strong head shots as King began to wane after round seven, but none were powerful enough to knock his heavy-set opponent off balance.
Both fighters threw their punches with abandon in the final round, searching for that knockout, but neither managed to connect a decisive blow - least of all King, who barely landed a hard punch on Tua throughout the fight.
The match ended to chants of "Tu-a, Tu-a" from the South Auckland crowd, and the hometown favourite made sure to thank his fans, first in Maori - then in English after he had been announced as the winner.
The night was a success for Tua, though not perhaps not as emphatic a win as he would have hoped for. He is likely to seek another fight with Monte Barrett later in the year, with whom he drew in July last year