By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing
David Higgins of Duco Events Ltd is the promoter of the David Tua vs Shane Cameron heavyweight bout that will be held at The Pavilion in Hamilton, New Zealand on October 3rd. Higgins talks to Fightnews and explains why the Tua vs Cameron bout is being billed as the Fight of The Century in New Zealand and will be televised on Sky pay-per-view throughout New Zealand and that Australia should almost certainly have access through Main Event pay-per-view.
You are the promoter of the David Tua vs Shane Cameron heavyweight bout which is regarded as the biggest boxing attraction in the history of the sport in New Zealand. Is this your first boxing promotion? How did you get the signatures of David Tua and Shane Cameron on the contract?
Yes it is a privilege for Duco Events to be promoting this historic boxing event which New Zealand media are calling the “fight of the century” and “the top sporting event of 2009.” This is our company’s first boxing promotion but requires the same skill set we have fine tuned promoting many other major events; namely selling tickets, marketing, media relations, sponsorship and managing risk, finances and the event itself. Many people thought Tua vs Cameron would never happen, but I believe we got their signatures for three main reasons: 1: because we are an independent third party promoter with a good track record and no “baggage” in the world of New Zealand boxing, 2: because we offered a substantial purse which both boxers know to be fair, and 3: because we persevered for many months to overcome various setbacks in the negotiation process.
Have you previously been involved in boxing? What is your background?
No, we have no previous involvement in boxing other than watching Tyson, Bowe and Holyfield fight as teenagers! However, since 2004, our company Duco Events has developed a leading reputation for promoting very successful conferences, trade summits, gala dinners and sporting themed testimonials in New Zealand and Australia, involving personalities including Sir Bob Geldof, Shane Warne, Prince Andrew, Sachin Tendulkar, Hon Bob Hawke and Emirates Team New Zealand to name a few.
You have selected “The Pavilion Stadium” in Hamilton, New Zealand as the venue for the boxing special event on October 3, 2009. What is the capacity? Do you expect a sellout?
Yes we expect Tua vs Cameron to sell out and the atmosphere at Mystery Creek Pavilion in Hamilton will be electric due to its intimate rectangular dimensions. The occasion will be all the more unique and memorable because the Mystery Creek Pavilion is 15 minutes drive into the Hamilton country side. It is the largest hireable floor space in New Zealand with seating for 8,000 people, including 300 ringside tables of ten guests and 5,000 premium grandstand seats. People who want tickets are advised to visit www.fightofthecentury.co.nz
The Tua vs Cameron will be televised nationally. Will there be a live telecast to Australia or USA? Has there been interest from other parts of the world?
Australians are fairly certain to have access to Tua vs Cameron via Main Event Television. New Zealanders can tune into the Sky TV pay-per-view broadcast. There has also been interest from the USA and the Pacific Islands.
David Tua is regarded as one of the greatest heavyweights in New Zealand history having defeated world heavyweight champions such as John Ruiz by KO1 in 1996, Oleg Maskaev by TKO11 in 1997, Michael Moorer by KO1 in 2002. He had lost to Lennox Lewis in a WBC and IBF title bout via points in 2000 and Chris Byrd on points in 2001. He has been out of the ring for nearly two years his last appearance in 2007 when he scored second round TKO over Cerrone Fox. Do you think this inactivity will make Shane Cameron the favorite in the betting?
The New Zealand betting agency believes Tua is more likely to win the fight, but more people are betting on Cameron. Everyone has their opinion so the fight is polarising the country. I think it is a mistake to read too much into Tua’s inactivity because he had good reasons. Tua is 100% focused on winning this fight in peak condition and his record shows he has the tools to be a formidable opponent. Similarly, Cameron is always in enviable shape so it will be an explosive fight to be remembered.
Cameron was a sparring partner to Tua several years ago, so he knows his power. Will this be an advantage?
Experiencing Tua’s immense power first hand could be further motivating Cameron to fine tune his defensive technique in an attempt to negate Tua. On the other hand, Tua’s power may have left Cameron with a lasting, intimidating memory. Only Cameron knows the answer but I’m sure he has a plan in mind.
Cameron is world rated with the IBF and WBO and has had recent wins over good American heavyweights such as Joseph Haggler in 2008 by KO7, Kevin Montiy by TKO5 in 2008 and in one of the best heavyweight battles ever in New Zealand, he defeated Terry Smith by WPTS12. His only fight in 2009 was a win over Robert Davis by TKO11. Did you see these fights? Were you impressed?
Yes I have seen several Cameron fights and I was in Gisborne most recently to see his victory over Davis. I am impressed with Cameron’s courage and his style is exciting, never boring, which is good for New Zealand boxing.
Cameron broke his right hand in the Davis fight and your show had to be postponed because of the operation he had on this hand. Has the manager of Cameron, Ken Reinsfield given you the thumbs up that the operation was successful and the fight will go ahead on October 3, 2009?
Yes, the fight is confirmed for October 3. One of New Zealand’s leading hand specialists has given Cameron the all clear.
WBA#1 heavyweight Kali Meehan lived in New Zealand for several years and talked to Fightnews recently and said he would be very interested in challenging the winner of the Tua vs Cameron. Is a fight featuring Meehan a possibility against the winner?
Anything is possible… let’s see what happens.
What are your long range plans for promoting in New Zealand?
We have found the boxing business both intriguing and exciting so if the opportunity arises, then I’m sure we would promote again in New Zealand or elsewhere.