Sporting world reacts to shock Paul Gallen announcement: 'What a joke'

Paul Gallen, pictured here in the boxing ring.
Paul Gallen is set to return to the ring for two fights in one night. Image: Getty

Paul Gallen has confirmed staggering reports he will return to the boxing ring this year and fight twice in one night.

The retired NRL champion told Wide World of Sports on Wednesday that he's hoping to fight Justin Hodges and another former Queensland player in back-to-back bouts in September.

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While the details haven't been finalised as yet, former Brisbane Broncos and Sydney Roosters star Hodges is expected to be one of Gallen's opponents.

"The way he's been carrying on lately I presume he would be one of them," Gallen said.

"The other one I'm not sure - it's going to be a footy player, though, it's not going to be Justis Huni."

Gallen said it will be more like fighting two opponents for half a fight each, rather than two separate bouts.

"Pretty sure it's going to be in Queensland... I'm hoping it's going to be (against) two Queenslanders. Get a bit of an Origin feel about it," he said.

"I'd say it will be six or eight three-minute rounds, and two opponents will do half each. That's what I think it will be. It's really only one fight, just two opponents."

After retiring from the NRL at the end of the 2016 season, Gallen has turned his hand to boxing.

He has won 12 of 15 professional fights, with two of his losses coming against Huni and Kris Terzievski.

Paul Gallen, pictured here in action against Kris Terzievski in Newcastle.
Paul Gallen in action against Kris Terzievski in Newcastle. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

His last fight in May was a unanimous decision loss to Terzievski.

Gallen has confirmed that he will hang up the boxing gloves at some stage this year, but is still holding out hope of fighting footy great Sonny Bill Williams.

"I've told everyone this is my last year. I have one more fight booked in for December, no idea who," he said.

"This could be it, I don't know. But this is my last year without a doubt. If I have one at the end of the year it will be a proper six-eight round fight, if it happens."

Fans had a wide range of reactions to the news about Gallen's double bout, with many blasting the concept as a bad look for boxing.

Paul Gallen and Sonny Bill Williams fight looming?

Gallen and Williams have been going back and forth for a number of years about a potential fight, with vision emerging last month of the pair clashing behind-the-scenes on the set of Channel 9.

During a post-match segment alongside Cameron Smith and host James Bracey after an NRL game, the talk turned to a potential bout between Gallen and SBW.

"We were having a great post-game show, having a bit of fun," Smith later said on SEN radio.

"And all of a sudden it went from reviewing the Warriors-Parramatta match to Sonny Bill Williams and Gal talking about why they haven’t got a fight organised yet.

"They were getting stuck into each other. I was in between them - James Bracey was down the end hosting the show – and I had a bit of a chuckle at first but it kept going.

"Then I looked at Bracey and said 'is this a gee-up?' But they kept going for 10 minutes."

Paul Gallen, pictured here during an NRL game between the Penrith Panthers and Newcastle Knights in 2021.
Paul Gallen looks on during an NRL game between the Penrith Panthers and Newcastle Knights in 2021. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Things then spilled over after the cameras stopped rolling, with Gallen and Williams continuing the verbal stoush as they left the set.

The footy champions have been verbally sparring for years, each accusing the other of failing to get a deal done.

Gallen was reportedly happy to take a 50-50 split, but the SBW camp wants a bigger slice of the pie, believing their man brings more to the table due to his bigger international profile across two codes.

Williams could be heard telling Gallen during the on-air beef: "You know the deal bro, you know the deal. Sign it brother."

Gallen then claimed he didn't know the deal, to which Williams claimed his manager had told Gallen's manager recently that they wanted a 60-40 split.

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