- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
Unheralded Kris Terzievski is the new Australian heavyweight boxing champion after outlasting Paul Gallen and likely ending the veteran warrior's decorated sporting career in an epic 10-round battle in Newcastle.
Terzievski dominated for much of the encounter but had to survive an heroic ninth-round fightback from Gallen before gaining the judges' unanimous decision on Wednesday night.
Gallen had been bidding to become the first cross-code athlete to claim the national heavyweight belt as well the Australasian heavyweight strap.
Instead, the 40-year-old rugby league great turned pugilist is again pondering retirement after confessing to feeling his age as Terzievski was hailed as "King of the Castle".
"Age probably caught up with me a bit. What can you do?" said a battered and blue Gallen after all three judges awarded Terzievski the bout 97-92.
"That's life. Everyone gets old and whether I do it again, I'm not too sure. We'll have to wait and see. Yeah, it could be it. We'll see."
Little separated the two combatants in the opening rounds before Terzievski was warned twice for low blows in the fifth.
The champion landed some heavy lefts, cutting Gallen's with left eye with one heavy blow as the NRL legend began to look vulnerable.
The southpaw was deducted a point for another low shot in the seventh round, but it didn't matter as Terzievski's dominance eventually told on Gallen.
Terzievski lined up for a killer left hook midway through an epic eighth round but Gallen courageously climbed off the ropes to stay on his feet.
Gallen, incredibly, looked like dropping Terzievski in the ninth as the 32-year-old himself looked out on his feet.
But he hung tough.
"I left it too late," said Gallen.
"A mate of mine, Pete Mitrevski, he told me out there, 'you don't get old in between fights, you get old in between rounds' and I felt it today.
"I felt it a couple of times in sparring, to be honest. I always had this ability to take the extra step and just go harder and harder and harder.
"(But) I tried to put the foot on the accelerator in five, six and seven and I just couldn't.
"It wasn't until he got tired in round nine that I had him hurt but I just couldn't finish, to be honest."
Little-known outside of boxing circles before taking on the Gallen fight, Terzievski now believes he has the world at his feet after retaining the belt that he claimed when Justis Huni was forced to relinquish the strap due to injury and COVID-19.
Huni is the only other boxer to defeat Gallen and already his team is lobbying to fight Terzievski.
With bigger fish to fry internationally, Terzievski said he'd considered Huni as an option - but only for big money.