Toza was a competitor in the early days of pro-bending, before participants were required to wear padding or headgear. He was renowned for his pro-bending skills, having the reputation of being the legendary earthbending captain of the Black Quarry Boar-q-pines.
Meeting Mako and Bolin
However, by 167 AG, his best years were long gone. He suffered from health problems and was broke, thus being in desperate need of money. With no other option left, Toza decided to work with the Triple Threat Triad in order to gain financial support. Meeting up with Shady Shin at the Triple Threat Triad headquarters, he accepted a ten thousand yuan bribe to throw his next match. Although the pro-bender accepted the bribe, he sighed sadly and left somewhat depressed, causing Shin to call him ungrateful.
Before the match that night, Toza signed autographs for some fans. While he did this, Bolin approached him, and the pro-bender quickly recognized the young earthbender as one of the Triple Threat's workers. He angrily asked Bolin if Shin wanted him to "belly-flop into the pool, so [he was] extra humiliated [that night]". Bolin tried to convince Toza that he did not need to throw the fight, but Toza rebuffed him, saying that both his body and bank account were in the same shape - broke. He finished by telling Bolin that he had made his decision and to leave him alone, picking up his gym bag and walking away.
During the match, Toza looked to be intending to throw the match as he had promised, and with both of his teammates already having been knocked into the pool, he found himself in zone three, teetering on the edge of the ring. He managed to regain his balance, however, and remembering Bolin's words from earlier in the day, he became determined to not give in, and promptly defeated the opposing team in a knockout. After his win, he returned to the training room where he found Mako and Bolin being attacked by Triple Threat Triad members. He assisted the brothers by knocking out two of the assailants, and stood with them against Shady Shin, only to be interrupted by the arrival of Lightning Bolt Zolt, who proceeded to stop the fight. The triad boss confronted Toza over why he had not thrown the fight as promised, questioning the pro-bender's honor, but Toza rebuffed Zolt's suggestion, and handed back the money they had given him. Toza subsequently offered the brothers a chance to live in the Pro-bending Arena and train under him. After some hesitation from Mako, the two brothers accepted, and the Triple Threat gangsters subsequently left the Pro-bending Arena.
Toza retired from the sport before Mako and Bolin started competing, and began managing a pro-bending gym. When AvatarKorra sneaked into the Pro-bending Arena to watch a game in 170 AG, she wandered into a training area where Toza confronted her, demanding to know what she was doing in his gym. Accusing her of having sneaked in without paying, he threatened to turn her over to security and have her thrown out of the arena. Bolin, however, came to Korra's rescue and said that she was with him; Toza dismissed the case, stating that he had work to do, and proceeded to move around some weights using his earthbending.
Toza later swept the floor in his gym while Bolin and Mako were practicing and reading up on Korra's participation in CouncilmanTarrlok's task force.
"I am an honorable man. I just needed someone to remind me."
Toza is an honest, honorable, and kind man, who took great pride in his skills and achievements as pro-bender. As captain of the Black Quarry Boar-q-pines, he enjoyed the attention and admiration of young fans. However, with advancing age and increasing financial problems, Toza became bitter and ill-tempered. Disenchanted, he resigned to accept that his best years had passed and that he had to overcome his pride to continue to make a living. However, even after making that decision, Toza was still depressed about this harsh reality. Eventually, after Bolin expressed his confidence in him, Toza came to the decision that he could not swallow his pride and give his honor as pro-bender up, thus ending his deal with the Triple Threats. He showed that he possesses a significant amount of compassion, as he offered to take Mako and Bolin under his wing when they proved that they had nowhere else to go but with the triads. Nevertheless, even after these events his bitterness is still present, and Toza often appears as grumpy old man.
Originally, the creators wanted to include a background story for Toza that would have revealed how he met Mako and Bolin and introduced them to pro-bending. This idea was omitted from Book One for time-saving purposes, but some of Toza's backstory was later shown in Republic City Hustle.