Justis Huni has called out NRL star-turned-boxer Paul Gallen as the Australian heavyweight champion prepares for his return to the ring this Saturday night.
Cleared of concussion following a freak off-field mishap, Huni (2-0, 2KO) pledged to make a “statement” against 205cm giant Jack Maris (2-0) with his national title on the line at the Gold Coast Convention Centre.
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Just 11 days after Huni’s bout with Maris, the unbeaten Gallen (10-0-1, 5KO) will confront the biggest test of his fight career when the former NSW Origin hardman shapes up to Lucas Browne in Wollongong.
As revealed by News Corp, Gallen’s adviser Peter Mitrevski has sounded out Huni’s promoter Dean Lonergan on a showdown before Christmas this year, possibly at Queensland’s Suncorp Stadium.
Australian heavyweight champ Justis Huni (right) will take on Jack Maris this Saturday night.Source:Supplied
Gallen’s confidence in the ring is sky high following his gutsy defeat of UFC legend Mark Hunt last December and he could secure a lucrative pay day by taking on the Brisbane-born Huni.
Huni admires Gallen’s courage as a fighter and respects his outstanding NRL record, but challenged the former Sharks skipper to truly test himself against one of Australia’s hottest boxing prospects.
“I would happily fight Paul Gallen, 100 per cent,” Huni said.
“I will take on Gallen or any of the best-ranked heavyweights in Australia.
“We’ll see how he goes against Lucas Browne and if he goes good against Browne, then I will definitely take a fight with him.
Justis Huni (left) is Australia’s most exciting heavyuweight prospect in years. Picture: Chris Hyde/GettySource:Getty Images
“For a footballer, he has made a pretty good transition to fighting and he has some boxing ability, he is not a bum by any means.
“One thing I will give Gallen is that he is tough and very fit. He was very fit as an NRL player and that fitness helps him in the ring. He did well to beat Mark Hunt, he showed he could take a punch so he’s definitely got a good chin.
“But I would like to think I’m in a different league, so I’m definitely open to fighting ‘Gal’.”
The 104kg hulk knows he is under pressure to perform against Newcastle man-mountain Maris, who is one centimetre shorter than British heavyweight king Tyson Fury.
Huni made history by winning the Australian title in his maiden professional fight against Faiga Opelu last October, before continuing his surge with a fourth-round stoppage of Arsene Fosso.
Justis Huni has called out Paul Gallen (left), who had a gutsy win over Mark Hunt last December.Source:Getty Images
Then came his shock concussion following an off-field incident four months ago.
Huni fell during a “scuffle” with mates and smacked his head into concrete. He tried to conceal the drama, only to be dropped by a cruiserweight in sparring.
Tests revealed a concussion and the 22-year-old admits the incident could have threatened his career. Lesson learned, Huni now wants to maul Maris as a prelude to fighting Browne by July.
“Concussions are a big deal, especially in a contact sport like this. It can end careers so you have to get on top of it 100 per cent,” Huni said.
“I’m pretty lucky. During sparring, I was feeling a bit slow and I was having headaches, so it was a worry, but I’ve had a month off and all the tests have cleared me which is a relief.
“Jack will be a good test, he is huge and as tall as the best heavyweights like Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua, so he will be confident.
“But I’m ready to put on a good show. I feel great again. I am looking to make a statement for sure.”
Originally published asGuess who heavyweight boxing king Huni called out
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