The Origin Rumble showdown that sees Paul Gallen take on old footy foes Justin Hodges and Ben Hannant on the same night is a first for Australian boxing – and comes with some one-off rules and regulations.
Gallen (12-2-1 7KO) is the big favorite and has promised to knock both men unconscious, but fireworks are expected at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena, with both Queenslanders promising potential $1 million paid days if they win.
Tensions have simmered this week with Gallen and Hodges nearly falling apart during a press conference, with Gallen telling Hodges to “kiss his kids goodbye” in case it’s the last time he sees them.
Hannant (left), Gallen (center) and Hodges (right) at the weigh-in for the Origin Rumble showdown, which has some unheard of rules for Australian boxing
Gallen and Hodges almost got into an argument at the press conference and weigh-in. Gallen has promised to take out both opponents tonight
Gallen also told Hannant, who has the least boxing experience of the three, that he could kill him in the ring.
After weeks of confusion over how the three-way fight event will work, the format has been confirmed.
Both fights will be four two-minute rounds, with Gallen allowed to have at least an hour break between fights.
Much to the frustration of the Blues great, he won’t find out which of the two to fight first until his opponent begins his walk to the ring.
When Gallen is knocked out in the first fight, the promoter insists there are contingency plans, but hasn’t revealed exactly what they are yet.
Gallen’s first fight should start after 9pm, with the main card on pay-per-view at 7pm.
On the eve of the Origin Rumble, Gallen has urged No Limit promoter Matt Rose to seek out the rugby league’s most feared runners for his farewell fight in December – with Gallen insisting he could “co-up any current NRL player” crush’.
Gallen warned Hannant that he could kill him in the ring. Hannant has admitted he accepted the fight because his wife wants a new pool
And despite his reputation in the ring, Gallen thinks an ex-NRL opponent won’t be hard to find.
“Being a rugby league player for 20 years, I know what they’re like,” Gallen said Fox Sports. “If you put a dollar in front of them, they jump.
“I have no problem fighting any of the current NRL players because I have no doubts for a moment that I will beat them all.”
Hannant has told the press that he plans to do his usual Gold Coast radio show at 5:30am the morning after the fight – and Gallen thinks this is funny.
“Well, he’ll have a headache — but it won’t be a big deal,” Gallen promises.
“If he enters the ring at 10 p.m., he will be unconscious by 10:02.”
Gallen hopes to retire at the end of the year and would like to fight an NRL player for his farewell match – and believes he would ‘crush’ one of them
Hannant, a father of eight, has also admitted that he only agreed to fight Gallen because his wife Emma wants a new pool.
“I kept saying no, but we’re building a new house and my wife kept saying if I took this fight, we could put a pool in it,” Hannant explained.
“You know what they say – happy wife, happy life – so here we go.”
However, the man nicknamed ‘Polar Bear’ still stands behind himself to be able to knock Gallen out.
Gallen goes into battle as a heavy favorite with 12 wins, two losses and seven knockouts
‘I’m a stupid front rower. We can include one or two key points, that’s all. We’re going to throw sledgehammers. You only need one or two to connect.”
Gallen comes in on Thursday night with a record 12 wins and two losses, seven of them by knockout. He has faced such high quality opponents as Justis Huni, Mark Hunt and Lucas Browne.
Hodges emerges as the more dangerous of the two opponents for Gallen, having fought six times and losing once, while Hannant’s only fight and loss against Hodges came in June.