Paul Gallen will face Lucas Browne on April 21 but there is a bigger challenge on the horizon in the form of 110kg Australian heavyweight king Justis Huni.
Paul Gallen will face Lucas Browne on April 21 but there is a bigger challenge on the horizon in the form of 110kg Australian heavyweight king Justis Huni.

Gallen’s $1.5 million title shot

NSW Origin legend Paul Gallen and reigning Australian heavyweight champion Justis Huni are in talks to stage a $1.5 million pre-Christmas title fight in Queensland.

News Corp can reveal the Gallen and Huni camps have spent the past month locked in negotiations for a heavyweight showdown that could represent the biggest test of the rugby league great's fight career.

Gallen (10-0-1, 5KO) is ramping up preparations for his next fight against former WBA heavyweight champion Lucas Browne on April 21, buoyed by his stunning defeat of UFC legend Mark Hunt last December.

It is understood Gallen will pocket more than $300,000 for his six-round bout against Browne, but a potential $1 million-plus payday looms if the 39-year-old agrees to fight rising star Huni later this year.

Gallen could also have a shot at the Australian heavyweight title if Huni retains the belt, as expected, ahead of the proposed bout.

 

The Brisbane-born Huni made history last October when he pulverised Faiga Opelu, becoming the first Australian in 120 years to win the heavyweight title in his professional debut.

Huni's promoter Dean Lonergan confirmed he is in talks with Gallen's adviser Peter Mitrevski to bring the fight to life, with several venues in Queensland being discussed, including Suncorp Stadium.

"I received an approach from Peter Mitrevski about a month ago, he has put some numbers to me and we're currently in talks," Lonergan said.

"If the money is right, Paul and Justis will do it.

"Queensland is the perfect location for a fight like this. I can only imagine that 15,000 fight fans would love nothing more than to see a Queenslander in Justis put a NSW Origin great Paul Gallen on his backside.

"Justis would be only too happy to knock out Paul Gallen and end his boxing career once and for all."

Gallen and Huni are on a collision course, with the pair to both fight 'Big Daddy' Browne in the space of 10 weeks.

 

Huni suffered a worrying setback last month when he suffered a freak concussion while wrestling with a mate, which ruled him out of the All Stars fight night in Townsville three weeks ago.

After facing Gallen next month, 'Big Daddy' Browne is slated for a June or July bout with Huni, who will then head to the Tokyo Olympics chasing a gold medal before a proposed clash with Gallen in November or December.

The 110kg Huni is expected to be cleared of concussion in the next fortnight.

League legend Gallen has made an admirable transition to boxing - he is unbeaten in 11 fights - and there is speculation he could hang up the gloves just beyond his 40th birthday if he secures a lucrative payday against Huni.

"It could very well be the last fight of Gallen's career and it would be a huge payday for him," Lonergan said.

"Right now, Gallen would probably be the A-side of the fight because of his profile, but the reality is that Justis would destroy Gallen.

"Gallen has a great rugby league career but if he fought Justis 1000 times, he wouldn't win a single round.

"Justis has already shown he has the speed and skill to be a world-title contender.

"I spoke to Justis yesterday and he is feeling really good. We will get the all clear from the neurosurgeons on his concussion and once we get the all clear, he will be back in full training."

Speaking in December, the day after Gallen outlasted Hunt in Sydney, Huni called out the former Cronulla enforcer.

"If he wants someone to fight, I'll be happy to step up and take the challenge," Huni said.

"If he wants to challenge for the Australian heavyweight title, he knows who has it."

Originally published as Gallen's $1.5 million title shot



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