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Plenty of punches landed but there was no serious damage as rugby league came out 3-1 winners in its rivalry with rugby union in a charity boxing event in Auckland.
NRL players Paul Gallen, Greg Bird and Manu Vatuvei all won their bouts over three two-minute rounds at the Fight for Life for prostate cancer awareness on Saturday night.
Former All Black Carlos Spencer got one back for rugby, while Willie Mason and another ex-All Black, Troy Flavell, fought out a draw in the battle of the big boys.
NSW skipper Gallen proved the surprise packet with a unanimous decision against All Blacks hooker Hika Elliot.
At the weigh-in, Gallen had talked down his abilities against an opponent who boasted a 62-0 record in karate.
But the Cronulla forward picked his moment to throw his punches and was able to find his mark with a series of combinations.
Gallen said he had privately backed himself, even if all the talk about Elliot's ability had made him nervous.
"I didn't want to be over-confident, to be honest," he said.
"I heard so much about the bloke and how good a fighter he was, I just wanted to go out there and do what my trainer told me."
Despite his clear-cut victory, he won't be hurrying back into the ring.
"I've got no plans to be a boxer."
Gallen won despite carrying an elbow injury from training a couple of weeks ago and for which he will have surgery on Thursday.
He said the rehabilitation period was only a fortnight, so he would be 100 per cent for the new NRL season.
Vatuvei also got all the judges' votes against London Games rowing gold medallist Eric Murray.
The Warriors winger couldn't quite tag Murray with a big shot, his opponent managing mostly to keep himself out of range, but he was buzzing after the fight.
"It was an awesome feeling," he said.
"I'm happy I jumped in. Eric and I went in to put on a good show and hopefully everyone enjoyed it."
Bird won an incident-filled contest over Blues back Rene Ranger via a split decision.
Bird was caught flush with a right hand in the second round and dropped to the canvas.
But Ranger was docked two points for throwing the punch after the referee had called for the fighters to break.
"I've copped bigger hits than that on the footy paddock," Bird said.
"I'll be right. The head's pretty solid."
Spencer got a majority verdict over former Kiwi Jarrod McCracken.
The bout developed some feeling, with Spencer unhappy with some of McCracken's tactics, including a couple of punches thrown when Spencer's back was turned.
"A win's a win," he said.
"It was more like a league match than a boxing match."Mason and Flavell provided plenty of entertainment with a mix of big punches and occasional wrestling, and couldn't be separated by the judges.
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