19/04/2024

Justis Huni won after 10 rounds by TKO. (PIcture: olympics.com.au)

The much anticipated Gallen-Huni card went all the way through the full 10 rounds, the boxing champ prevailing over the former NRL veteran.

It was an exciting night of boxing at Sydney’s ICC exhibition centre. There were five fights on the card, ranging from Bantamweight to the main event for the Australian Heavyweight title.

Justis Huni had plenty to lose in this fight, not only his belt, but possibly his confidence to compete in the Olympics. Paul Gallen was looking forward to add the heavyweight title to his other rugby league accolades.

Gallen should be commended for his ability to get Australia watching. His experience as a rugby league player and role in the media with Channel Nine has allowed him to hone his skills in what is becoming an art form: selling pay-per-view.

There was plenty of up and coming talent for show on the fight card. Australia’s cruiserweight Jason Whateley and featherweight Sam Goodman dominated their opponents. 

New Zealand’s middleweight Andrei Mikhailovich was dropped by his opponent Alex Hanan, but would recover and end the fight with a nasty left hook.

Mikhailovich would call out the next man on the card, Australian middleweight Issac Hardman. He would go on to put on a strong performance, finishing Emmanuel Carlos in four rounds.

Post-fight, Hardman did not want to hear about Mikhailovich, and is looking to fight some of Eddie Hearn’s elite ‘Matchroom boxing’ talent.

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It was time for the main event.  

The six-foot-four Huni looked confident on the way to the ring, coming out to the Ali-inspired ‘champ is here’ soundtrack. Entering the ring, he towered over the five-foot-ten Gallen, with a whopping six inch reach advantage.

Fight recap, round by round

Round 1: Huni looked right away far more superior as a boxer, his flurry of shots keeping Gallen at his distance. Huni 1-0

Round 2: Gallen got back into the fight, copping serious power shots from Huni but landing a few himself. Huni with a constant solid jab, getting Gallen’s respect however. Huni 2-0

Round 3: Gallen was having success with some dirty boxing, until the last minute when Huni hit him clean and made his legs tremble. The fight could have been stopped, but Gallen managed to get through. Huni 3-0

Round 4: Not much action of note, but still a dominant round for Huni. Huni 4-0

Round 5: Huni and Gallen both landing good shots on each other. Huni still dominant . Huni (5-0)

Round 6: Huni and Gallen trading punches close. Huni landing a variety of shots to the head and body, and not looking tired compared to the weary Gallen.  Huni (6-0)

Round 7: Gallen looking fatigued but bringing it to the dominant Huni. Huni was stopped by the referee as gloves were loose. Gallen and Huni both landing big shots. Huni (7-0)

Round 8: Huni’s stamina is holding up. Gallen’s engine and effort is commended by the legendary Jeff Fenech on commentary. Gallen is not giving up and could be having a second wind, but still copping heavy punches while attempting dirty boxing. Huni (8-0) 

Round 9: Gallen is bringing it but Huni has not fatigued and is not looking to slow down. Huni lands big shots and Gallen is holding on and hurt badly. Huni (9-0)

Round 10: Huni is landing heavy punches on Gallen. Gallen is trying to survive the onset, pulling out some rugby league antics with an attempted tackle to Huni’s legs. Huni lands a devastating left hook and drops Gallen. Gallen does not want to give up.

The referee understandably ends the fight by TKO in round 10.  

It was an exciting fight, but Huni’s athleticism, boxing skills and power proved too much for the tough Gallen. Gallen is one of the toughest Australian sportsmen in this era, but was clearly outboxed by an exciting future prospect in Huni. 

While Gallen truly earned his reportedly 1.5 million dollar payout, it was not a good night in the ring for the rugby league legend.

It will be interesting to follow Gallen’s future moves in the ring, while Huni’s main priority now is preparing himself for next month’s Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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