9 Mar 2017

Tua mentor Lou Duva dies

12:39 pm on 9 March 2017

Lou Duva, one of the feistiest boxing trainers around and who was in New Zealand boxer David Tua corner in the early part of his professional career has died in New Jersey.

He was 94.

Duva, whose unforgettable face helped make him famous, spent parts of nine decades in boxing.

The patriarch of a family immersed in boxing, his work as a manager and trainer earned him induction into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in June 1998.

David Tua and Lou Duva in 1993.

David Tua and Lou Duva in 1993. Photo: Photosport

Duva began making his mark in the sport as part of his family's promotional company Main Events.

The company's biggest break came in September 1981, when it helped promote the "Sugar" Ray Leonard-Thomas Hearns welterweight title fight in Las Vegas.

Its involvement in Leonard-Hearns enabled Main Events to transform itself from a mostly local events company into one of the most prominent promotional firms in boxing.

Evander Holyfield, Meldrick Taylor and Pernell Whitaker were among the 19 world champions with whom Lou Duva worked during his illustrious career.

Main Events signed those prominent fighters after the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

He discovered Tua at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, when he won a bronze medal.

Duva's first world champion was Joey Giardiello, who won the middleweight title in 1963.

The fiery Duva was known for fighting for the boxers he managed and trained, both in and out of the ring.

Even at 74 years old, Duva was involved in the infamous melee after the first Riddick Bowe-Andrew Golota fight in July 1996 at Madison Square Garden.

Footage of Duva almost falling off a stretcher as medics attempted to wheel him out of a riot encapsulated the chaos at the Garden that night.

Rudy Giuliani, then New York City's mayor, was among those that visited Duva in the hospital after the riot.