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Fighters split on Hamilton decision

Published: 10:31AM Tuesday February 24, 2009 Source: NZPA

Boxer David Tua will go down memory lane when he returns to Hamilton for his much-anticipated showdown with fellow-New Zealand heavyweight Shane Cameron.

Waikato Stadium has been named as the venue for the June 6 fight, with capacity for up to 18,000 fans, most of whom will be in grandstand seating.

Organisers say there will be 4000 ringside seats which, like the ring, would be covered by a custom-made shelter, while the rest of the field would be taken up by marquees for corporate hospitality.

Aucklander Tua says he is disappointed the contest - marketed as "New Zealand's Fight of the Century" - couldn't be held in his home town.

But he is happy with the venue chosen, playfully mocking the faux pas he once made during an appearance on a game show.

"Waikato - it's an O for Awesome place," he said.

"For me, it's connecting the dots. It's time for me to revisit where it all started as an amateur fighter. That's where I won my first New Zealand title as a lightweight."

Tua, 36, says he can still remember that tournament, held at the Te Rapa Racecourse when he was about 10 or 11, "just like yesterday".

"I caught up with a couple of the friends that I fought with on the Manukau team down at the nationals," he said.

"We started talking about it, and today it's come to light that the fight will be in Hamilton. It was down at the racecourse and I'm sure I'm going to go down and visit that place."

Absent Cameron

While Tua was at the news conference to announce the venue, Cameron was absent.

Cameron is in training for a "homecoming" bout in Gisborne next week against American Robert Davis.

Cameron's manager, Ken Reinsfield, said his camp's preference would have been an indoor arena in Auckland.

However, Cameron was prepared to meet Tua at whichever location the promoter, Duco Events, chose.

"Good on Hamilton for getting behind what will be an enormous fight," Reinsfield said.

"I'm sure Hamilton people will get out and support it."

Duco Events, the Tua-Cameron fight promoter, says it also looked at options in Auckland and Wellington.

All about respect

Director David Higgins says the decision to go for Hamilton was based on more than just the level of sponsorship offered, citing "respect" as a key reason.

"Above all, it was vital that the host city partner demonstrated respect for a landmark event that will focus the enthusiasm and the passion of the country," he says.

"On all counts, Hamilton emerged clearly as our first choice."

Higgins said Duco, and not Hamilton City Council, was the promoter.

That made the event different from the visit of David Beckham and the LA Galaxy soccer team in December, which left the Auckland Regional Council with a $1.79 million loss.

What do you think about Hamilton as a venue for this fight? Feel free to comment below.


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  • Zazz said on 2009-02-24 @ 13:22 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Hamilton! You have to be joking! Tua and Cameron have nothing to do with the place! This is taking obscure to new levels!

  • Da Man said on 2009-02-24 @ 13:21 NZDT: Report abusive post

    What a bloody shambles. I want to know why the Vector Arena deal didn't go through. Instead they're going to shell out to cover the entire stadium?! I feel sorry for the people in the grandstand seats, what are they gonna see? Go Tua!... oh wait that's Cameron... hang on... nah too far away to tell.