Boxing promoter Dean Lonergan has called for Paul Gallen to walk away from a potential sequel with Justis Huni, with plans already in place for the 22-year-old Australian heavyweight champion to fight a tough Kiwi in October.
Gallen, who can trigger a rematch clause, survived nearly 30 minutes of punishment on Wednesday night, before eventually succumbing to Huni (5-0) in the 10th round in Sydney.
Now, Lonergan is asking: “How much is your health worth?”
“I think his biggest problem is that he’s too tough for his own good,” Lonergan told foxsports.com.au.
“And I don’t think it’s very good for his health that he should fight Justis Huni again.
“So, my recommendation to Paul is, ‘I don’t think you should take that fight again, there are other opportunities for you. But not that one.”
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On that basis, Lonergan has started negotiations with promoter Lou DiBella over a fight that would see Kiwi Junior Fa come to Townsville to fight Huni in October, after the Aussie returns from the Olympics, with a stack of current NRL stars already signed up on the undercard.
Fa (19-1) most recently took former heavyweight champion of the world Joseph Parker to a decision in February; a fight that many believed was closer than the scorecards suggested.
“We shouldn’t be fighting this guy this quickly, but we think we can beat him, and beat him well,” Lonergan said.
The plan involves about 10 league stars getting in the ring, with Lonergan confirming four of the names: Jason Taumololo, Addin Fonua-Blake, Brandon Smith, and Junior Paulo.
The event will take place in between the NRL Grand Final and the Rugby League World Cup. Anyone not named Justis Huni or Junior Fa will be competing in 16oz gloves and going toe-to-toe over three two-minute rounds.
Of course, Huni’s showdown with Fa hinges on Gallen opting against triggering his rematch clause, which is worth around “seven figures”, according to Lonergan.
Gallen told foxsports.com.au on Thursday he didn’t know whether he’d come back for more after suffering a rib cartilage injury in a bruising affair with Huni.
“If he wants to do the rematch, we will do it,” Lonergan said.
“But in my opinion, he won’t want to do it. I think he’s realistic enough to know that at 39 years of age, he’s not going to improve and at 22 years of age, our boy’s just going to get better.
“My advice to Gal, and I’ve already spoken to Gal about this, I don’t think he should do it. Regardless of how much money’s at stake.”