NRL great Paul Gallen has confirmed he will face former UFC fighter Mark Hunt in the boxing ring this December.
The Cronulla Sharks legend has been searching for his next opponent since his bout against former AFL player Barry Hall in November last year.
Gallen and Hunt will fight as part of a double-header alongside rising Australian star Tim Tszyu’s bout with New Zealand fighter Bowyn Morgan at Bankwest Stadium - the first boxing match to be held in a Sydney stadium in 14 years.
Hunt, 46, hasn’t fought since his final UFC bout in 2018, while his most recent professional boxing match came in 2000.
Nonetheless, Gallen said Hunt’s fearsome reputation would speak for itself, and predicted one of the toughest fights of his career.
“I’m going to get hit at some stage. How hard and clean he gets me remains to be seen,” Gallen said.
“To jump in the ring with someone like Mark Hunt is going to be exciting. But to beat him and have my hand held up is going to rank highly.
“I’m confident I can win. I’m really confident. I won’t be able to hurt him, look at him, but I’ll win on points.”
The two-fight event was announced as the ‘Sydney Super Fight’ by NSW tourism minister Stuart Ayres, who said it would be an important step in the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Sydney Super Fight joins an impressive list of major sporting events that have been secured for our state through the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW,” Ayres said.
“With Sydneysider Tim Tszyu, son of Australian boxing legend Kostya Tszyu, in the ring against the Kiwi champion, this will be a contest that boxing fans won’t want to miss, and I have no doubt Sydney Super Fight will be a sellout.
“Major events like Sydney Super Fight are key to the recovery of our state and we look forward to welcoming the contestants, officials, support staff and their fans to Western Sydney for another big night on the NSW sporting calendar.”
Tim Tszyu keen to continue world title quest
Ranked in the top eight at junior middleweight in all boxing organisations and No.2 in the WBO, Tszyu wants to challenge for a world title against champions Jermell Charlo and Patrick Teixeira.
But struggling to find an opponent, Tszyu said he was happy just to get back into the ring.
"Honestly I couldn't care less - my manager and promoter look after that," Tszyu said.
"At the end of the day he is a top 15 fighter who is the best in New Zealand.
"It's going to be a great fight. I am going to show Australia and the world where I am at."
Tszyu, 25, is expected to dominate 31-year-old Morgan, whose wins have come against lower-level opposition in New Zealand for a 21-1, 11 KOs record.
Morgan's only career defeat came against Australian fighter Kris George in 2016, but the top-ranked Kiwi believes he is on the up.
"He's the next big thing in my way," Morgan said.
"They can underestimate me all they like. I haven't lost in four years ... and my last three wins have been by knockout."