Incredible new details have emerged about Paul Gallen's upcoming fight against Justis Huni and the jaw-dropping pay-day the rugby league great is set to receive.
The NRL legend last week agreed to the all-Australian heavyweight showdown against Olympic hopeful Huni, on June 16 in Sydney.
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Huni is a genuine medal chance at the Tokyo Games, with the 22-year-old out to defend his Australian heavyweight title against Christian Tsoye on May 26 in Sydney before backing up against the former Australian rugby league captain with both fights over 10 rounds.
He's then off to the Tokyo Olympics in late July, having his first vaccination this week ahead of the gold medal pursuit.
Despite being one of the most exciting young fighters coming out of Australia, the young heavyweight is under no illusions about the threat Gallen poses and the rugby league legend's commercial pulling power.
It's for that reason that Huni and his team - chiefly trainer/father Rocki and promoter Dean Lonergan - have been willing to offer Gallen a staggering 85 percent of the fight takings.
Lonergan admitted last week that it represented the the "highest pay day of his life", with Gallen expected to net around $1.5 million for the fight.
Huni's father explained to The Sydney Morning Herald that unlike Gallen, it's never been about the money for his son.
“We are getting Justis’ name out there and what better platform than being involved in a Main Event with probably the most hated person in Queensland,” Rockie said.
“We have been to a few football functions this week and I can’t believe that one person generates that much hate. It’s crazy.”
Lonergan admitted that Gallen - who told him to "sharpen his pencil" during negotiations - drove a particularly hard bargain.
“He’s negotiated hard. The problem with Gallen is that not only does he want his slice of the pie and your slice, he also wants his neighbour’s slice of the pie, Justis Huni’s slice and any pie that’s in the street,” Lonergan said.
Gallen fumes over fight poster
The promoter and Gallen have been at loggerheads with one another since the fight was agreed, with the NRL great reportedly threatening to cancel the fight unless one of the promotional posters for it was changed.
Huni said his trainer dad Rocki and Lonergan came up with the idea of the poster, which sold the fight as “Termination Day” with Huni depicted as the Terminator and Gallen a peripheral figure in the background.
Gallen blasted Huni's team for the promotional stunt and demanded that Lonergan change it.
“I can guarantee you this is not the poster we will be using for the fight, it’s ridiculous,” Gallen said.
“He’s trying to pump his client but this bloke does not need a leg up every single time. When I first saw it I thought, ‘I don’t care’. But Dean Lonergan has been so difficult to deal with every step of the way, I’m going to dig my heels in and make him change it.
“Why can’t he just be an adult and keep his word? He’s being childish.”
Olympics remain Huni's 'priority'
For Huni, his focus has been solely on a gruelling schedule that sees him fight Tsoye and Gallen in the space of three weeks.
"It's nothing I haven't experienced already. I'm used to backing it up fight by fight as an amateur," the Brisbane talent said on Tuesday.
"I'm pretty confident how both of the fights will pan out as they both have similar styles as they both go forward so I'm planning on taking away the risk by staying out long and just boxing.
"I'm not going to risk myself getting any cuts by fighting on the inside.
"Gallen has never fought anyone with my speed and footwork."
COVID-19 stalled amateur boxing in 2020, which prompted Huni's switch to the professional ranks, winning the Australian heavyweight crown over Django Opelu in his first fight in October before defending the belt by stopping Arsene Fosso in December.
The Olympic gold medal remains Huni's ultimate goal, and he will start among the favourites after making the semi-finals of the amateur world championships in 2019 before a bout of gastric forced him out.
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not looking past both these guys as they both have tough styles so I've got to be ready for whatever they bring," he said.
"But it's all for preparation for the Olympics, it's definitely my priority."
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