By Laim Napier & Steve Kilgallon
David Tua's comeback is fast gaining traction.
It is understood that Tua's promoters, Duco Events, have made a verbal offer to veteran American heavyweight Tony Thompson (37-3).
The 41-year-old, who has twice fought Ukrainian world No 1 Wladimir Klitschko, is a hot prospect after pulling off a devastating second-round knockout of previously undefeated British contender David Price (15-1) in February.
Price suffered a perforated ear drum as a result of Thompson's powerful right hand.
Duco promoter David Higgins confirmed Thompson was on the shortlist for Tua's comeback, which is scheduled for August. "We are assessing Thompson against various criteria, as we are other options. We've got a few irons in the fire," Higgins said. "We do respect Thompson. He has a great record. He would be a formidable opponent."
The fact Thompson is being considered shows Duco are in the hunt for a credible opponent. Tua won't have time to feel his way back into the ring. This will be all or nothing. Tua has shed 10kg through daily training with conditioning expert Lee Parore in South Auckland, though the 40-year-old has plenty of work ahead to reach peak fitness.
Other key factors suggest Tua is taking this chance seriously. Australian-based Samoan heavyweight Alex Leapai, ranked ninth in the WBO, will make a trip to Auckland to provide Tua with quality sparring. Leapai will also fight on the August undercard.
While there is interest in Thompson, the 1.96m southpaw would be a difficult opponent for Tua, who has struggled against taller fighters.
Thompson's style may not make for a great spectacle, either. It is thought Duco have a bigger drawcard in the pipeline.
"The decision on an opponent comes down to styles, promotional ability, ranking and money," Higgins said.
Duco have publicly offered Kiwi Shane Cameron $250,000 for a rematch of the 2009 "Fight of the Century". That prospect is unlikely, with Cameron considering his options, after losing the IBO cruiserweight world title fight to Danny Green in November.
Promising Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker is also on track to take on South African veteran Francois Botha in July.