All the action as Paul Gallen takes on Mark Hunt before Tim Tszyu and Bowyn Morgan clash in an anticipated boxing double-header.
Kiwi combat sports star Mark Hunt has declared he will hang up the gloves for good if he can’t beat boxing “freshie” Paul Gallen.
The two heavyweights clash in Sydney on Wednesday, fighting as the co-main event alongside the bout between fellow Kiwi super welterweight Bowyn Morgan and rising Australian Tim Tszyu at Bankwest Stadium.
Hunt hasn’t been in the professional boxing arena for more than 20 years, but became arguably Australasia’s biggest combat sports star through his career in both kickboxing and mixed martial arts, amassing more than 70 professional bouts while former NRL star Gallen has just 10 – a number of which have been against fellow league players.
“He’s still a freshie to me; he’s still a beginner,” Hunt told the Herald.
“I’m going to fix him and go from there. If I don’t beat this cat, then I shouldn’t be fighting and I’ll retire for sure and there’s no way I should be competing, to be honest.”
Gallen has made a strong start to in his boxing career since turning professional in 2014. The former Australian NRL star has won nine of his 10 professional bouts, five of those coming inside the distance, with the other being a majority draw against Barry Hall, a former AFL player, in November last year – his most recent encounter.
While Hunt has not fought in any form over the past couple of years, he comes into the bout in shape and said he felt physically and mentally ready to go as many as 12 rounds. The bout with Gallen, however, is only a six-round affair.
While he comes into the bout in shape – taking every step to do so including enlisting The Fight Dietitian Jordan Sullivan, who works managing the nutrition and weight cutting practices of Australasia’s top combat sports stars during fight camps – many continue to suggest Hunt will be out of shape on fight night.
Hunt said that narrative was being fuelled by the fact he weighed in at more than 20kgs heavier than Gallen.
“People are looking at me like I’m unfit because of him; what was he, 100kgs or something? If I hit him with something I’ve got, he’s not going to come back,” Hunt said. “I’m not going to be working as hard as he is; he’s going to be working hard. It just takes me a couple of shots, or one shot to put you in trouble.”
Hunt has also spent the best part of the past two decades competing in five-minute rounds. The bout against Gallen will be contested with three-minute rounds.
For Gallen, the bout will be the biggest test of his professional combat sports career to date and despite all the trash talk between the two in the build-up, the 2015 NRL premiership winner was complimentary and respectful of the power in Hunt’s fists.
Speaking of the discrepancy in the weight of the two, Gallen said both fighters would benefit in different ways.
“You know he’s powerful,” Gallen told the Herald. “If he hits me it’s going to hurt.
“(But) I’ll be quicker.”
The pair added to the anticipation of their bout when they faced off at the weigh-ins, with people having to restrain the two.
While Gallen suggested it was an “unprofessional” way for Hunt to act given he was a veteran of the combat sports scene, Hunt shrugged the situation off as simply a part of the game.
“It wasn’t really a fiery stare down at all,” Hunt said. “That’s just what we do; as a fighter part of your job is to be part of conflict – that’s what fighting is, and I’m okay with it.
“Time for talking is over, I’m just looking forward to scrapping now and putting this one to bed; putting the nails in his coffin and ending it. Enough talk is enough, that time is over; I’ve had enough of this s***.
The main card will be broadcast in New Zealand via Spark Sport from 9pm for $39.99.
TALE OF THE TAPE
Boxing record: Two fights one loss one draw
Kickboxing record: 43 fights 30 wins 13 losses
MMA record: 29 fights 13 wins 14 losses one draw one no contest
Boxing record: 10 fights 9 wins 1 draw
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