Home Boxing News Justis Huni’s promoter defends decision to fight just weeks out from the...

Justis Huni’s promoter defends decision to fight just weeks out from the Olympics

Justis Huni knocked out Paul Gallen in the 10th. Photo credit: News Corp Australia

Australian heavyweight champion Justis ‘JPH’ Huni 5-0 (4) has had his Olympic dream shattered after aggravating injured to both hands in his 10th round knockout win over former rugby league star Paul Gallen 11-1-1 (6) in Sydney last week.

The 22-year-old Queenslander was a hot favourite to medal in the super heavyweight division in Tokyo.

Huni initially injured his hands in his 10-round unanimous decision win over Christian Tsoye 5-4-2 (4) three weeks before the Gallen clash.

“I aggravated both hands in the first round and my team sent me straight for an MRI after the fight which confirmed our worst fears, that I require an operation ASAP on both hands,” Huni wrote on Facebook.

“I would like to thank everyone for their support and understanding with this as I am truly guttered (sic) and I know you will be too, but know that I will be back bigger and stronger.

“Take care and make sure you cheer on the rest of the Australian Olympic Boxing Team.”

Huni’s promoter Dean Lonergan said the risk-reward ratio of fighting that close to the Olympics was carefully weighed up.

“Justis’ entire family is gutted but equally they are the ones who wanted to do the fights and I fully endorsed that,” Lonergan told the Wide World of Sports.

“We thought activity was the best way to get the best outcomes. This injury started in sparring, so he would have been doing it tough anyway if he were to be going to the Olympics.

“So there’s nothing to say the injury would have occurred anyway. I don’t think there were mistakes made in the build-up to this. It’s just the way things go.

“The reason why Justis went pro is because he couldn’t get any fights as an amateur when Covid hit. Justis had to have the fights that we’ve had. He would have had no fights going into the Olympics and probably wouldn’t have fought upwards of a year and a half.

“That would have been just as bad as not going at all. It would have been a tragedy. There’s just not that many guys to fight and the ones that do come from Covid countries.

“It’s so easy to say this is the reason why and so on – but it’s always more complex than what it is on the surface. There’s no way he could have performed on the basis of that.

“You can hurt yourself just as much in a fight as you can in sparring and training. And unfortunately, the injury that occurred was the major one, the injury to his knuckle, that happened in sparring and it could have happened in any training camp whatsoever.”

In the lead-up to their fight Gallen taunted Huni about his planned Olympic run.

“I’m here to do everything I can to make sure that you don’t go to the Olympics,” Gallen said.

“Whether it’s break your jaw, break your face, break your arm, I don’t care what it is. I’m going to bring everything I can to break something in you so that you don’t go to the Olympics.

“That dream since you’ve been seven years old is going to be fucked.”

As it turns out, Gallen managed to do exactly that.