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Off contract and out of favour, fallen NRL star Joey Leilua candidly admits he'll be fighting for his future and his family when he makes his professional boxing debut next month.
Leilua will joust with retired dual premiership winner Chris Heighington in Newcastle on December 10.
The 29-year-old concedes he's stepping out of his comfort zone, even against a rival 10 years his senior and who is also debuting as a fighter.
"I only started training four weeks ago," Leilua told AAP on Monday.
"It's pretty tough. Never done boxing in my life.
"But I'm excited. I can't wait."
Not wanted at Wests Tigers after a turbulent, ill-disciplined two-season stint at Concord, the Samoan international and one-time NSW State of Origin candidate has little choice but to fight.
The 29-year-old now has a third child to feed following the birth five weeks ago of daughter Lyra, a baby sister to brothers Leonidas and LaDainian.
"It's all happening," Leilua said.
"I got the text asking to fight around the same time as she was born.
"So I took it and I'm taking this fight seriously, keeping my focus on this fight only and then whatever comes after that, I'll do."
Leilua said he was considering a couple of offers but wanted to keep them "low key".
"Footy's my passion still, oh yeah," the destructive centre said.
"Hopefully with this fight I can get in there and show everybody that I'm fit and ready to go."
But with his mother Aranata needing kidney dialysis, the self-confessed "mummy's boy" said he was reluctant to leave Australia.
"My mum's unwell. She doesn't want me to go," he said.
"So I'm still considering what to do but she plays a massive part in it because we don't know how long (she has)."
"But if an opportunity arises overseas, I've got to do what I've got to do and hopefully I would bring my mum over."