Justis Huni knew the risk.
He just hoped it did not bite him in the backside. It did.
“Like all fighters, you worry, they think they can do these things and come out the other end, but it’s only when the injuries are severe that they worry about it then,” his promoter Dean Lonergan told said on Wednesday afternoon, mere hours after his hand injury was confirmed.
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Huni injured his knuckles during sparring well before his 10-round epic with former NRL champion Paul Gallen, in which he reportedly took home about $300,000.
In fact, he injured it even before his bout with Christian Tsoye on May 26.
It was in the weeks leading up to the Tsoye bout, a fight Gallen slammed Huni for taking given it put their own showdown at risk, that Huni injured his knuckles.
Huni hurt his hand during sparring against New Zealander Semisi Kalu, who had been flown over to prepare the Australian heavyweight champion ahead of two fights in the lead up to Tokyo.
“What happened was, he was sparring a bloke called Semisi Kalu,” Lonergan said.
“Now, Semisi was a great sparring partner and did everything we asked, but the first couple of sessions, Justis beat him so bad that he couldn’t take any more shots to the head. So what happened was Justis was sparring with Semisi, going to his body, so Semisi had his elbows down and Justis hit him low, trying to go to his body and hit his elbow and that’s where he did this bloody injury and he’s been carrying it through the last two fights.”
It wasn’t long before Huni re-aggravated the injury against Gallen.
In fact, it occurred in the first round.
Justis Huni injured his hand preparing for his fight with Paul Gallen. (Photo: Richard Dobson)Source:News Corp Australia
“At the end of the day, we rely on what the fighter and trainer is going to say,” Lonergan said.
“They made the decision that they wanted to have these fights.
“They thought Justis was in a position to compete and win these fights, and that’s exactly what happened, so they’re his decisions.”
Huni’s Olympic dream is now all but over.
He had hoped to bring home Australia’s first boxing gold medal.
“I think that’s what the whole Australian boxing team is dreaming of bringing back to Australia as no one has won the gold medal before,” Huni told foxsports.com.au in the week leading up to the Gallen fight.
“We’re all looking at trying to get that job done.”
Huni had even worn the green and gold boots he was going to rep at the Olympics. They even had an Australian flag on them.
Now, they’ll never be worn for their intended purpose.
“There’s a lot of meaning behind the colour and the flag on it and that’s what I’m going to do, I’m representing my country and I’m wearing these with pride,” he said.
“I’ve only just started wearing them and sparring.
“They’ve grown on me and comfy and I feel like they’re the right time to bring them out and showcase them against Gallen and then wear them over at the Olympics representing Australia.”
Originally published asHuni’s $300k gamble before Olympic blow
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