Chris Byrd vs. David Tua

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2001-08-18 : Chris Byrd 215 lbs beat David Tua 233 lbs by UD in round 12 of 12

Better conditioning still doesn't help Tua
Associated Press, August 18, 2001

LAS VEGAS -- Heavyweight Chris Byrd scored a unanimous decision, upsetting David Tua on Saturday night to earn a shot at the International Boxing Federation title.

Byrd, 34-2, of Flint, Mich., kept Tua, the IBF's No. 1 contender, off balance with superior handspeed and a right jab.

Tua bulled Byrd into corners, but the quicker, lighter Byrd got off his punches before spinning out of danger.

There were no knockdowns in the bout.

"This was one of my best overall fights," Byrd said. "It had to be. Tua was the No. 1 contender. He's a great fighter, but I was on top of my game and the better man tonight.

"I hate losing rounds. But in the last two rounds, I knew he had to knock me out. But I knew I had enough rounds in the bag to win the fight."

Judges Chuck Giampa and Art Lurie scored the fight 116-112 and Paul Smith had it 115-113.

"I thought I did enough to win the fight, but that's the way it goes sometimes," Tua said. "Chris has some good power, but it wasn't enough to stop me from coming forward and pressing the issue in the fight."

Tua entered the bout at 233 pounds, 14 less than his last fight on March 23 against Danell Nicholson, and 12 pounds lighter than when he lost to Lennox Lewis last November.

Tua's better conditioning didn't translate into a better performance as the 214-pound Byrd was hurt only once, in the 12th round.

"I did what I always do and that's just box," Byrd said. "The fight went exactly how I expected. When he hit me with a big shot, I'd try to come back with five or six more punches."

Tua, of South Aukland, New Zealand, dropped to 38-3.

Byrd is in line to challenge for the IBF title, currently held by Hasim Rahman.

Rahman, however, has signed for a rematch with former champion Lennox Lewis on Nov. 17. Byrd will get to challenge the winner of that bout by April 20, 2002. [1]