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Former rugby star Paul Gallen outboxes Mark Hunt in Sydney, then calls out Robert Whittaker

Former UFC and PRIDE heavyweight contender Mark Hunt’s return to competitive action after a three-year hiatus ended in defeat to former rugby star Paul Gallen, who promptly set his sights on another Antipodean MMA hero, Robert Whittaker.

Gallen showed a solid chin and remarkable powers of recovery, as he took some thunderous shots from “The Super Samoan” over the course of their boxing match in Sydney. But Gallen’s work rate overall meant that the former Australia international rugby league player took home the win after securing a unanimous decision after six hard-hitting rounds, with the three judges scoring it 58-56, 58-56, 59-55 to extend his professional boxing record to 10-0-1.

Seven years his opponent’s junior, Gallen outworked 46-year-old Hunt over the course of their six-round co-main event, but it was Hunt who came closest to ending the fight inside the distance. The notoriously heavy-handed Kiwi found a home for his powerful punches throughout the fight. But, while he managed to rock Gallen on numerous occasions, he wasn’t quite able to finish the job as the Australian fought through adversity to run out the victor on the scorecards.

After the fight, Gallen set his sights on former UFC middleweight champion Whittaker. Speaking in the ring during his post-fight interview, Gallen said, “What’s next? Robert Whittaker, I watched you about a year ago, you had an interview, and you were asked if you’d fight me. You said, ‘Yeah I’d fight him, but he wouldn’t fight me,’ and you gave a condescending laugh.

“I’m here, mate, and I’m happy to meet you in here (the ring), but stop pricing yourself out of it. I’ve got nothing but respect for Rob – I know him reasonably well – but I’m just going to beat him. I’m going to beat him like I beat Mark. I’m going to train hard and prepare for it. I’m going to have a good game plan. I’m just going to get in there and smash him.”

Hunt’s defeat means that he remains without a win as a professional boxer, with the fight seeing his record under the Queensberry Rules drop to 0-2-1.

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