'I'll retire': Michael Zerafa's startling call on Paul Gallen fight

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Michael Zerafa says he'll retire from boxing if Paul Gallen defeats Justis Huni in their upcoming heavyweight bout. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)
Michael Zerafa says he'll retire from boxing if Paul Gallen defeats Justis Huni in their upcoming heavyweight bout. (Photo by Jonathan DiMaggio/Getty Images)

Australian boxer Michael Zerafa says he'll retire from the sport if former NRL star Paul Gallen defeats heavyweight Justis Huni on June 16.

Huni, who is set to represent Australia at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, accepted the challenge from Gallen after the former Sharks star's comprehensive win over Lucas Browne.

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It shapes as the most legitimate test Gallen has had, with other notable victories coming against the likes of former UFC star Mark Hunt and former AFL star Barry Hall.

Zerafa though, isn't convinced.

Speaking ahead of his bout against Tim Tszyu, Zerafa said 'stylistically and technically' there was 'no way' Gallen had the skills required to top Huni.

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“If he wins I’ll retire,” Zerafa told Triple M's Rush Hour when asked about Gallen's chances.

“If he wins then there’s more going on behind the boxing scenes that I don’t even know. Stylistically, and technically, he can’t win the fight.

“Nothing against Gal, I like Gal, I met him in Melbourne a few times and he comes across as a great bloke... he’s a great athlete. It’s like me saying I’ll score a try before Gallen does, it’s just not going to happen.

“I can’t see Huni losing this fight. He can do it all... he’s our best heavyweight in Australia.”

Gallen has consistently proven his doubters wrong on the way to a 11-0-1 record, but Huni represents his most legitimate challenge to date.

The Huni fight will also represent a massive payday for Gallen, but Zerafa said Gallen's habit of requesting two-minute rounds damaged his case as a legitimate fighter.

"Paul Gallen... he’s calling everybody out... as a rugby star he is a legend. But a boxer? I don’t know,” Zerafa said.

“It just looks stupid. You’ve got legitimate fighters like myself, Tszyu, (Jeff) Horn, people who are professional fighters, and he’s fighting six two-minute rounds.

“(Gallen) picks what he wants, picks who he wants, and he’s getting mainstream media. It’s just disappointing. I don’t know whether it’s him or the TV end or whoever it is... but he’s winning.

“I don’t know how he’s doing it but he’s doing it.

“I know Huni and he can fight. There’s levels, and I don’t think Gallen is at that level... I know he’s not at that level.”

Robert Whittaker teases $1.5 million Paul Gallen bout

UFC superstar Robert Whittaker is next in line for a title shot to the winner of Israel Adesanya and Marvin Vettori, but the Aussie has also welcomed a bout with former NRL star Paul Gallen in the meantime.

Middleweight No.1 contender Whittaker has swept all in his path upon securing another title shot following his loss to Adesanya 2019.

Most recently, he put on a masterclass against Kelvin Gastelum and the UFC world was adamant he would headline the next middleweight title bout.

But after fans became enraged he had been overlooked for Vettori, Whittaker put to bed any fears that he had been snubbed.

Paul Gallen's burgeoning boxing career has attracted a variety of high-profile opponents since his retirement from the NRL. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Paul Gallen's burgeoning boxing career has attracted a variety of high-profile opponents since his retirement from the NRL. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The 30-year-old said following his recent bout and the extended trip back to Australia from the US, the fight against Adesanya in June was too soon.

But with rising contender Vettori now all but certain to fight Adesanya on the 12th of June at UFC 263, Whittaker has time before a title bout.

This led to Whittaker toying with the idea of fighting Gallen in a boxing bout for a hefty payday.

“I’ve certainly got the time if Gal wants to set that up,” Whittaker told Fox Sports, after taking notice of Gallen's victory.

“We can work something out, for sure. I’ve got the time now, could be a bit of fun.”

Whittaker added the crossover event was all part of his business.

“I’m in the fighting business and it would be a decent payday, so why not? I’ve got time," he added.

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