'It's the only world title that matters' - David Tua on receiving Samoan tatau, friendship with Shane Cameron

Former Samoan-Kiwi heavyweight boxer David Tua has opened-up about his journey in receiving what he considers his world title – a Samoan tatau [traditional tattoo].

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Tua said former foe Cameron visited him during his eight days of getting his traditional Samoan tattoo. Source: 1 NEWS

The 46-year-old endured eight days of agonising and excruciating pain as he completed his special honour in February.

"As I stated, it was the only world title that matters, respectively. For me it is a part of my journey, I've always wanted to, to have done for so long," Tua told 1 NEWS.

He revealed that he was wanting to complete a traditional Samoan for a long time, but his father was not a big supporter of him undertaking the big task.

"Dad had other ideas, so I didn't quite understand, certainly would have to respect what my dad's wishes were at the time," said Tua.

"He didn't believe a soga'imiti [Samoan tatau] belongs in the ring. Soga'imiti is a person that serves his family and certainly not in the ring."

The former professional boxer says there are times he is overcome with emotion, as he catches himself every now and then looking at his tatau.

"So, for me I look at my leg and I look at my sides, it's surreal, I still can't believe it, it's finished.

"It's even more meaningful, having it done with my beautiful wife."

Tua said he was visited by former foe, former Kiwi boxer Shane Cameron, during the time he undertook the tatau.

"He didn't know that I was getting tattooed that particular day, we try to catch up as often as we can with our busy lives.

"But this particular day he called and I didn't tell him what I was doing and he turned up."

Cameron and Tua fought in 2009 in Hamilton, with the man nicknamed the 'Tuamanator' dropping Cameron several times in the fight, before the referee called an end to it in the second round.

"And he [Cameron] said 'what are you doing in the ring?’' and I said 'well I'm fighting, it's a different kind of fight.'

"I told him, 'I just need to let you know that once you are in the ring, you can't get out unless you have your back tapped as well' and he says 'not a chance.'

"It was nice to have him come along and share part of my journey on that particular day."

Tua has an impressive boxing resume, winning 52 professional bouts with 43 knockouts and just five losses.

"What we talked about, we talked about the good old days, what we watched on his phone that day was a Samoan fighter that he is working on at the moment.

"It's just great to see that he is giving back to the sport of boxing." 

Former All Blacks centre Eroni Clarke also visited Tua on day one of him getting his tatau, comparing each other's soga'imiti.

Tua was recognised as an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit earlier this month in the Queen's Birthday Honours list for his services to boxing in 2001.

He retired from boxing in 2013, but continues to work with fighters in the Auckland community via his Onehunga gym.