History | Mar 15 2018

On This Day: David Tua bursts on to world stage with brutal KO of John Ruiz

23 years ago today, March 15, David Tua made his mark, writes James Slater
boxing knockouts
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IN 1996, a card dubbed “Night Of The Young Heavyweights” was held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Shannon Briggs met Darrol Wilson, Andrew Golota met Danell Nicholson and a Samoan slugger by the name of David Tua met John Ruiz. The card proved memorable, for two reasons: firstly, Briggs, dubbed by some as the heir apparent to the heavyweight championship, was shocked by Wilson, being stopped in the 3rd-round.

Briggs claimed asthma problems accounted for the loss but much of the young and previously unbeaten prospect/contender’s credibility and reputation had been damaged. The other reason the card proved memorable was down to Tua’s wickedly powerful fists. Having his first title fight (the WBC International heavyweight belt was at stake) Tua, then unbeaten at 22-0 with 18 KO’s, really did showcase his talents at the expense of the 25-2 and never stopped Ruiz.

Coming out like a cross between Mike Tyson and Rocky Marciano, the 23-year-old wasted absolutely no time in hunting down his prey. With the sound of the bell still an echo, the short (5’10-inch) and solid, wickedly powerful Tua blasted Ruiz with a bomb of a left hook to the head. Instantly in trouble, Ruiz was cracked by vicious follow up hooks, a final left looking like it had almost decapitated him. Down on his back and totally out, Ruiz, know as “The Quiet Man,” was a thoroughly beaten man at just the 19-second mark.