- Publish Date
- Tuesday, 15 October 2019, 5:32PM
Ask anyone to name a famous Samoan or Kiwi sports hero and there is almost no doubt that this name will come up - David Tua.
Thirty-something years on from when he first started boxing, that famous name will now be synonymous with boxing legends of the world, as he is due to be inducted into America's National Boxing Hall of Fame.
The Tuaman is living a good life. He trains amateur boxers coming up the ranks, runs his own gym in Onehunga and has a secret weapon and support in wife Helen.
But the first thing he brings up at the mention of all that success is the humility that built it.
"I think about my parents and all their hard work - everything that they've done for us. This is for them.''
The 46-year-old will be inducted into the National Hall of Fame at a ceremony in California, next April.
He joins some of the boxing world's greats to be inducted next year as well - Sugar Ray Leonard, Frankie Duarte, Armando Muniz, Pipino Cuevas, Lee Roy Murphy and world-renowned boxing referee Frank Garza.
For the kid from South Auckland, being on that list is a privilege.
"It comes as a shock, but I'm very honoured and very humbled. I don't take the credit for it because this award - it's about those who have gone before me."
The Tua siblings lost their parents - dad Tuavale Lio Mafaufau Sanerivi and mum Noela - within a few months of each other two years ago.
"It was probably the first thing on my mind - my parents. Every special occasion, they have always been there.''
His mother never watched his fights. She would take a peek and ask if it was over. She just wanted him to be safe, he said.
One fight his father attended was the Shane Cameron bout in Hamilton in 2009. There were a lot of things happening at the time - including the devastating tsunami in Samoa, where one of Tua's aunts was among the almost 200 people killed.
That was a special time to have him there, Tua said.
Asked of the bout with Lennox Lewis, in 2000 - his big shot at the heavyweight world title - and not coming out with the win, Tua is reflective.
"I absolutely have no regrets. I gave it my best.
"For me, the harder fights were out of the ring, not inside it. In the ring, you can hit and defend yourself. But out of the ring - they're the sort of the fights that you can't hit back.''
Tua will travel with his wife to the US next April and then later in the year with a group of young boxers.
He hopes to show them glimpses of the boxing world and give them the same opportunities he got as a young boxer.
"I'm very excited. It's not so much about boxing, but it's about speaking life into them and letting them know they're able to become anything they want to be.''
This article was originally published at nzherald.co.nz and is reproduced here with permission