Startling footage of Justis Huni emerges ahead of Paul Gallen fight

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Justis Huni, pictured here being dropped during a sparring session in January.
Justis Huni was dropped during a sparring session in January. Image: Sun Herald

Startling footage has emerged of Justis Huni being knocked down in sparring earlier this year, just hours before his blockbuster bout against Paul Gallen.

After more than a month of verbal warfare, the two undefeated fighters will finally go toe-to-toe for the Australian heavyweight title at Sydney's International Convention Centre on Wednesday night.

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Speaking ahead of the fight on Tuesday, Huni threatened to expose rugby league great Gallen as a boxing "fraud".

But stunning footage published on Wednesday might have some thinking that Huni is the fraud.

The footage, obtained by The Sun-Herald, shows Huni being brutally knocked down during a sparring session in January.

Huni can be seen crashing to the canvas after being stunned by a short left hand from his smaller sparring partner.

According to reports, Huni's partner was Kiwi fighter Ricky Silva - a kickboxer-turned cruiserweight who was wearing 16-ounce gloves.

“We all make mistakes and I kind of got complacent," Huni said of the incident.

"I thought I was better than what I was, and I found out real quick what could happen.

“I’m just glad I got past that. It’s the way you bounce back from your mistakes and me personally, I think I’ve done really well in coming back from that.”

Huni dismissed the notion that Gallen will use the footage to exploit his weaknesses.

“It was in sparring and sparring is all about learning and that’s exactly what it was - it was a learning curve for me,” he said.

“A lot of people have got dropped in sparring and it’s fine because that’s where you work on stuff. I don’t take anything away from anyone that gets dropped in sparring.

“I’ve taken a lot from it and I won’t be going back to it.”

Paul Gallen and Justis Huni, pictured here facing off during the official weigh-in.
Paul Gallen and Justis Huni face off during the official weigh-in. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Huni and Gallen trade verbal barbs ahead of fight

There is more than Huni's belt on the line in what shapes as a bitter blockbuster.

Having conquered UFC legend Mark Hunt and one-time world heavyweight champion Lucas Browne in his past two fights, Gallen is adamant he can shatter Huni's Olympic dream as well.

The 22-year-old is considered a gold medal contender in Tokyo and says he's looking forward to seeing Gallen "on the canvas, face down" on Wednesday night.

But Gallen doubts Huni will cope on the biggest stage of his pro career, under the glare of pay-per-view for the first time and in front of several thousand fans at the Aware Super Theatre.

"Oh, that's what he wants to do. That's his plan but I don't see that happening at all," Gallen said of Huni's KO prediction.

"He hasn't dropped one similar opponent. Even in all of his amateur fights.

"People don't think I know about this bloke. He's had one stoppage since he was an amateur - one - in all his fights.

"He's clearly not a puncher, clearly not a puncher, so I don't see that happening.

"He can't handle pressure, can't handle the expectation. I'm going to apply pressure to him in the fight and expose him.

"I told you from the start, he's an unbelievable fighter, skilful, fast. He's got everything. But there's a chink in that armour.

"In the past, he's been in no-show. He was a no-show (on Monday night on NRL 360). I've found a little chink, he doesn't like the pressure and I've got to try and expose it."

with AAP

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