Ex NRL superstar and NSW Origin captain Paul Gallen is attempting to keep his undefeated boxing record in tact when he takes on New Zealand combat sports legend Mark Hunt at Bankwest Stadium on Wednesday night.
Mark Hunt (46) will make his first pure boxing appearance in 20 years after a storied career in Kickboxing and Mixed Martial Arts which included fighting for a UFC Heavyweight title in 2014.
You would be forgiven for thinking this is the main event of the evening but up and coming Australian boxing sensation, Tim Tszyu with defend his WBO Global light middleweight and IBF Australasian titles against another Kiwi in Bowyn Morgan.
We have previewed both fights and offer our full Gallen v Hunt Preview below.
Paul Gallen – A Short History
We all know Paul Gallen the gritty front rower who played one hell of a State of Origin villain throughout a dominant period for Queensland, but can the bloke box?
Well, he is undefeated in 10 boxing fights since 2014, the latest a draw with ex AFL superstar Barry Hall in November 2019.
It’s easy to poke fun at the people he has beaten in his boxing career to date but his record is impressive nonetheless and his latest fight with Barry Hall showcased his boxing credentials in more ways than one.
This is his hardest test, and perhaps more importantly the biggest pay day of his short boxing career but he is seemingly up for the challenge.
Mark Hunt – A Short History
Mark Hunt is a stalwart of combat sports in Australia and New Zealand and he has been a trailblazer for many young mixed martial artists in the two countries.
He was at the top his sport for the best part of twenty years, in K1 Kickboxing, Pride and eventually the UFC.
He struggled when making his transition into MMA with six of his first seven losses coming via submission in Pride and his hands were always his biggest weapon.
Known for his walk off knockouts, where he seemingly had a sixth sense that his opponents were separated from their consciousness, he finished his MMA career with 10 knockouts from his 13 wins.
The end to his UFC career is not a pretty one.
He lost three of his last four and ended his MMA career with more losses than wins.
On paper, this looks another classic case of an outside sports star attempting to enter the world of combat sports relying purely on their name and status rather than their skill set.
But Paul Gallen is actually quite a skilled boxer.
Up until his last fight, I was far from convinced but he showed good defensive skills in his fight with Barry Hall.
Gallen does not move quickly around the ring and his foot movement is almost non existent but those two things will not be in high demand against a 46 year old Mark Hunt.
Mark Hunt has never looked in shape but after a lacklustre end to his MMA career and more than two years since competing in anything at all, I have to question his fitness, drive and ultimately motivation for this fight..
Of course, Hunt has power in his hands. A fighter rarely loses that. But they do lose timing. They do lose stamina to continuously throw combinations.
Mark Hunt will enter this fight as the dominant favourite and therefor there is plenty of value.
This is a six round fight. Six rounds!
Between a 39 year old and a 46 year old!
It goes the distance.
And I have Gallen weathering the storm that will likely come his way and doing enough on points.
Back the fight to go the distance @ $2.65
Back Paul Gallen to win by decision @ $6.00
Co Main Event – Tim Tszyu vs Bowyn Morgan
Tim Tszyu – A Short History
There was a lot of hype around Tim Tszyu, not only because he is the son of former World Champion Kostya Tszyu, but because of the impressive resume he was starting to build.
Then he dominated Jeff Horn in Townsville in July this year.
He finished the former WBO Welterweight Champion inside eight rounds, and won over many Australians in the process.
With that fight, he has soared in popularity, something that has become more important in Australian boxing in recent times than actually winning world titles.
12 of his 16 wins have come against local opponents with his latest challenge coming against a New Zealander.
Still, he is 16-0 with a bright future.
Bowyn Morgan – A Short History
New Zealander Bowyn Morgan has lost just once in 21 professional fights but that loss came way back in 2016.
This is the first time Morgan has fought outside of his native country and he enters into this fight as the massive underdog.
He currently sits at $8.50 in the market which probably seems the right price.
He has it all in front of him though and we are all hoping he can bring it the up and coming Aussie contender.
After his win against Jeff Horn, there is no doubting the abilities of Tim Tszyu. Not anymore.
Although Jeff Horn may be past his best, he is no pushover and Tszyu confirmed the changing of the guard in Australian Boxing with that win.
I’m not sure what a victory here against a little known New Zealand fighter will do except line his pockets some more.
I would love to see Tszyu take a leaf out of George Kambosas Junior’s book and truly take on the world’s best while he is in his prime.
Kambosas Junior will fight for the IBF Lightweight title against Teofimo Lopez next year because he has focused on climbing the ladder instead of making a name for himself.
Tim Tszyu wins.