Paul Gallen has applauded Justis Huni and Joe Goodall for putting their undefeated boxing records on the line in tonight’s highly anticipated heavyweight fight in Brisbane.
Huni (5-0) will take on and Goodall (8-0-1) in the biggest Australian heavyweight bout in years with both fighters ready to take the next step in their careers.
Watch Heavyweights Justis Huni vs Joseph Goodall battle for the WBO Oriental and IBF Pan-Pacific Regional titles. Wednesday 15 June from 7PM AEST LIVE with Main Event on Kayo Sports & Foxtel. ORDER NOW >
The winner will likely move into the top 15 in the IBF, WBO and WBC rankings, meaning they would be eligible to fight for the world title.
In a fight game where many fighters care more about protecting a perfect record, it’s refreshing to see these two undefeated fighters willing to risk it all to move ahead.
Huni had a successful amateur career but hasn’t fought since his win over Gallen in June last year.
The 23-year-old made the Tokyo Olympic team, only to pull out after a hand injury suffered while training for his fight against Gallen.
Goodall has said “this is a bit of a do-or-die fight”, while Huni’s promoter Dean Longeran believes a loss would be a setback for whoever loses.
“It’s a massive blow, to either guy (who loses),” Lonergan said.
“There’s a long road back for the loser, a long road back.”
But Gallen disagreed, arguing a defeat won’t hurt the loser’s career and Australian boxers need to be willing to take tough fights and risk having a loss on their record.
“This is the problem with Australian boxing,” the former Cronulla Sharks legend told news.com.au.
“Everyone’s too scared to test themselves so you generally go to fight nights knowing who’s going to win.
“That’s one thing I’ve tried not to do. Everyone I’ve fought has been a professional athlete or had more combat experience than me — look at my last four or five fights against (Kris) Terzievski, (Lucas) Browne, Mark Hunt, Huni.
“You want to test yourself and if you lose, you lose. You don’t want to lose, you prepare not to lose. But you’re better off testing yourself and having a go than just fighting someone you know you’re going to beat.”
Billed as the biggest heavyweight fight in Australia since the 1908 clash that saw Jack Johnson defeat Tommy Burns to become world champion, both Huni and Goodall’s teams believe their fighter will win via in a stoppage by the sixth round.
Gallen, who is weighing up his options after a hardfought loss to Kris Terzievski last month, praised the two fighters for agreeing to contest an evenly-matched bout and said it should happen more often in Australian boxing.
“I take my hat off to both these guys for taking a fight like this at this stage of their career,” he said.
“Huni’s had five fights, Joe’s only had eight. I think what they’re doing is awesome. I think it’s what people should be doing for Australian boxing because this is an interesting fight.
“It’s interesting for everyone to see and people are going to watch it because of that.
“If Joe Goodall goes and fights someone that no one’s heard of, who’s going to watch it? No one’s going to watch it.
“I think this is the type of fight Australian boxing should be having and I take my hat off to them for doing it. And whoever loses, I don’t think it affects their career at all.”
Gallen believes Goodall has the power to secure a knockout win in the early rounds, but predicts a Huni victory if the fight goes the distance.
“I’m looking forward to the fight,” he said.
“I’ve done a fair bit of training with Goodall in preparation for (Gallen’s fight with) Huni and obviously fought Huni and I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a cracker of a fight.
“After I sparred Goodall he went to America or England and spent months and months over there. Apparently he’s got a really good jab now, which is the bread and butter of all good fighters.
“Apparently that’s what he’s worked on and he would have picked up a fair few tricks of the trade as well training with guys like Tyson Fury and that.
“I think if Goodall can knock him out in the first two, three rounds, Goodall can win. But I think if it goes past then I think Huni will be too skilful and have too much speed and win on points.
“They both have the ability to win. I think Huni has more speed, more skill.”
Justis Huni vs Joe Goodall: When does it start and how to watch
The boxing action begins at 6pm AEST on Wednesday with live coverage on Fox Sports channel 505 and Kayo Sports.
The main card, available via Main Event and Kayo Sports for $59.95 PPV, is scheduled to commence at 7pm with Huni vs Goodall expected to start after 10pm.
Main card (from 7pm AEST)
Justis Huni vs Joseph Goodall — 10 rounds for the vacant IBF Pan Pacific, vacant WBO Oriental and WBC Australasian heavyweight titles
Ernesto Espana vs Andrei Mikhailovich — 10 rounds for the IBF Pan Pacific and WBO Global middleweight titles
Shamal Ram Anuj vs Luke Boyd — 10 rounds for the WBA Oceania super bantamweight title
Gretel De Paz vs Taylah Robertson — six rounds at female super flyweight
Francis Waitai vs Jack Gipp — six rounds at super middleweight
Thomas Wilkins v Hone Huni — four rounds at super middleweight
Undercard (from 6pm AEST)
Marvin Feterika vs Toese Vousiutu — four rounds at heavyweight
Louis Marsters vs Austin Aokuso — four rounds at cruiserweight