Paul Gallen faces the greatest challenge of his boxing career when he takes on Australian heavyweight champion Justis Huni on Wednesday night.
But the former NRL star has delivered a brutal promise to end Huni’s Tokyo Olympic dream by ‘breaking’ bones when finally enter the ring – and labelled the rising star a ‘f***ing coward’.
Gallen is undefeated from 12 bouts, winning six of 11 fights by knockout with his only blemish a controversial draw with Barry Hall in 2019.
Huni though is a completely different beast to anything Gallen has faced in the past, as promoter Dean Lonergan said at their final press conference on Monday.
“For those of us in the boxing world, we know exactly what this is… We’re in a two horse race,” he said. “On my left this (Huni) is Winx. This is probably the best prospect to ever come out of Australia, certainly the best prospect at heavyweight.”
He continued: “But if this is Winx in a two-horse race, this is Eeyore,” in reference to Gallen.
But he praised Gallen’s courage in taking on the fight, saying he has: “Balls the size of watermelons, and they’re made of steel there’s no doubt about that, because he’s brave enough to step up.”
Watch Paul Gallen v Justis Huni on Main Event available on Foxtel and Kayo, Wednesday 16 June at 7pm AEST. ORDER NOW >
Gallen responded to Lonergan’s attacks with a withering spray, lambasting Huni as a quitter and promising to injure him and thereby stop the medal favourite from competing at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
“I’ve been called a donkey, a pig, I’ve been called everything,” Gallen said in response to the ‘Eeyore’ dig. “I got my circle, I got my family that’s all I need to be concerned about, what they think about me.
“I’m well prepared for this fight. I think Dean knows I’m not really concerned about what he says or what anyone else thinks of me.”
Then he took aim at Huni in a brutal blast, saying: “They’re overlooking me without a doubt. I’ve read all their comments. Their number one concern is the Olympics. I’m here to tell all of you – Justis you’re included in your team – I’m going to do everything I can to make sure you don’t go to the Olympics.
“Whether it’s break your jaw, break your face, break your arm. I don’t care what it is. I’m going to do everything I can to break something in you so you don’t go to the Olympics.
“That dream since you’ve been seven years old is gonna be f***ed.”
‘He’ll box his ears off’: Justis Huni hoping to end Gallen early
Gallen’s heated rant continued: “I’m going to do everything I can. I’m going to try and break something in there, I don’t care if it’s your arm, I’m going to try and break something. Everything, anything I can. I don’t care what the referee does. I’m going to try and ruin your dream.”
Huni simply replied: “Your luck’s going to be over. Let’s go. Let’s go!”
The 39-year-old retired NRL star doubled down by claiming Huni is a ‘f***ing coward’ over a previous amateur boxing championship which Huni withdrew from.
“He’s quit before,” Gallen said. “He has walked off before, he’s quit before. That’s a fact. I’m not making that up. He’s got to a championship final and walked off. He said he had a sore stomach, said he had a store stomach the whole week.
“The only thing people don’t know that I know is that you fight every two days leading into it. So what was wrong with your stomach two days before it, or the previous two days or the previous two days before that? Nothing!”
Huni responded saying he fought through stomach pain all week: “I fought with it. I fought with it in the quarter final.”
But Gallen didn’t hold back: “You make the final and you don’t fight the final, you f***ing coward!
“You had the chance to fight in a final and you dogged it. That’s always going to be in you mate, somewhere that’s always going to be in you. Whether I find it or not, someone will find it one day and I’m determined to find it.
“All I do is find the chink in your armour, I find it and I expose it. The fact is – that’s a fact – he has quit before and at some stage he will quit again!”
Gallen then predicted he would claim a late knockout win.
“It’s going to be a hard fight, I understand that. He’s going to box, he can move very well so to catch him in the first few rounds is going to be difficult.
“I think if I get through the first five or six rounds, I think I can knock him out in the sixth, seventh, eighth, or ninth round. I think I can knock him out late.”
Here are all the details you need to know ahead of Wednesday’s blockbuster fight.
WHEN: Wednesday, June 16
WHERE: ICC Exhibition Center at Darling Harbour
HOW TO WATCH:Main Event on Foxtel and Kayo
ODDS: Gallen $5, Huni $1.15
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PAUL GALLEN RECORD
Paul Gallen is undefeated as a professional boxer and holds an 11-0-1 record.
He has won six of his 11 fights by knockout, and his only blemish is a controversial draw with Barry Hall in 2019.
JUSTIS HUNI RECORD
Huni has a perfect 4-0 record since turning pro late last year.