Justis Huni ripped Paul Gallen apart piece by piece in their heavyweight showdown on Wednesday night — but his performance has been given a scathing review by Aussie boxing legends.
It has also exposed the grim reality about his stature in Australian boxing — something Gallen knew all to well when he took the microphone and told the world at the end of the fight that Huni still isn’t ready to sell himself as the biggest star in Australian boxing.
The 22-year-old had all the shots on his way to a 10th round TKO win over the 39-year-old rugby league legend. The thing missing was the statement punch that could snatch the world’s attention.
Instead, Huni stayed in his comfort zone the entire fight — earning a rebuke from Aussie boxing icon Jeff Fenech.
In his first pay-per-view main event, Huni was the fighter, but not the showman.
All the ingredients and weapons are there, but not just yet. And Gallen knows it too.
“One thing I’ll say to Justis, you’re a terrific fighter, but you gotta start selling fights,” Gallen said in the ring after one of the bravest performances Australian boxing has seen.
“If you wanna start making some cash and making a living out of this you’ve got to start selling fights. I’m happy to teach you anytime you want to learn. Maybe after the next fight though.”
Huni will fight at next month’s Tokyo Olympics as a gold-medal chance in the super heavyweight class, but has a clause in the fight contract to have a re-match with Gallen if the former NSW State of Origin captain wants to.
Without Gallen and without an Olympic medal, the sad reality is Huni will struggle to sell pay-per-views despite his enormous hype and abilities.
He had a chance to take a big step forward against Gallen — and may have already achieved that — but Fenech saw a fighter who missed his moment to stop Gallen early in the fight.
He said Huni’s dominance with the left had jab could have easily set up a right hand bomb to end the fight early, but it appeared only a couple of times before the championship rounds.
“Where’s the right hand? I can’t believe it, Justis is just throwing the jab,” Fenech said in commentary for Main Event.
“I know he’s winning the fight and he’s landing more punches, but I’m a little bit disappointed that at the heavyweight division he can’t really hurt this guy. For me that’s a sad reflection of Justis’ performance because he’s hit Gallen with so many punches and Gal is still there.
“The opening was there and the right hand never came.”
Gallen was also surprised about the power behind Huni’s punches.
“I would have expected how often he hit me, he would have stopped me earlier. I don’t know if it’s my hard head or if he didn’t have it,” he said in his post fight media interview
Huni said after the fight he has the ability to land the power punches demanded in the heavyweight division, but will only start work on his arsenal after the Olympics, beginning on July 23.
All the ingredients are there – Australia is just waiting to see the finished product.
Undefeated at 5-0, Huni is going to have to grow up quickly.
Originally published as Gallen terminator’s sad reality check