“I had no reason to believe there would be any problems with the promotion given Mr. Kushner’s reputation,” King said. “However, it did cross my mind when a promoter who had scheduled the fight four months prior didn’t purchase our airline tickets until the day before our departure and take advantage of a lesser price booked in advance. When Mr. Kushner returned to the U.S., I told him that I hadn’t been paid by the local promoter, Mr. Tuigamala. Mr. Kushner told me not to worry because he’d sort things out, and guaranteed me I would get every dollar I was entitled to. That was good enough for me, even though the delay caused me and my family an inconvenience, but I knew Mr. Kushner would be true to his word and he was. I hope he can get me more fights in the future.”
King lost a 10-round decision to Tua but left New Zealand without receiving his $10,000 purse due to the insistence by the show’s promoter, Inga Tuigamala, that Kushner was responsible for paying King.
“I was just helping Mr. Tuigamala’s promotional company, Plantation Boxing Gym, in the interest of David Tua and I was not obligated in any way to pay Demetrice,” Kushner explained. “My company, Gotham Boxing, had no financial interest in the event. This unfortunate situation, for me as well as Demetrice and his family, was read by many people worldwide, unfairly projecting my company and I in a poor light. I’ve been in the entertainment business for 35 years between boxing and the rock business and a situation like this is something you would expect to see in the movies or in some other fictional form.”
Late last year, Kushner flew to New Zealand to speak with Tua about plans for his next fight. When Cedric asked David what he had in mind for the holidays, David said he wanted to stay in New Zealand to be with his family and that his friend, former New Zealand rugby player Inga Tuigamala, was promoting a small show on March 19th and he had discussed with Inga for a position for himself on the card. Subsequently, at a meeting – attended by Cedric, David and his wife, Robina, and Inga – it was agreed that David would not return to the United States to train but he would stay in New Zealand to prepare for the March 19th fight. Everyone was in complete agreement. Kushner shook hands with the principals and offered to assist them in whatever manner they required.
Inga soon asked Cedric to assist in securing Tua’s opponent at a reasonable price. Kushner made arrangements through a boxing agent for King to be Tua’s opponent and all parties signed off. Inga approved King’s requested purse, amount of rooms, airfares and other related expenses. Inga then requested that Kushner secure a signed contract as soon as possible.
Robina asked Cedric to assist in securing Tua’s opponent at a reasonable price. Then
Kushner contacted one of his agents who obtained Demetrice King and the deal was struck, subject to Tua agreeing to fight King.
Robina then asked Cedric to forward a Demetrius King-signed contract for David to sign and she could forward a fully executed copy to Maori Television, which had required a signed contract to confirm that the fight was taking place on March 19.
“I was not responsible in any way for paying Demetrice’s purse,” Kushner continued. “I’m David Tua’s promoter and whatever is in his best interest is also in my best interest. Therefore, when Robina asked me for the paperwork, I used a Gotham Boxing contract only as a template, assuming Inga would be fully responsible for all payments as the show’s promoter. I didn’t suspect anything was wrong until Inga told me hours before Demetrice was flying home that Gotham Boxing, not his company, was responsible for paying King. I was blown away. Why would I seek confirmation of his approval for all aspects of the deal – purse, airline tickets, hotel rooms, etc. – if I were paying for the fight? Why did he buy the airline tickets? I still thought he was joking. I wasn’t overly concerned until I returned to New York City and received phone calls of concern and then read numerous stories tarnishing my reputation. I paid Demetrice because I didn’t want him to get ‘stiffed,’ however; all I did was help to secure an opponent for David Tua. It’s a pity that this type of thing has to take place and the poor fighter is made to suffer, but I’m lucky we got this dealt with.”