Justis Huni isn’t much of a trash talker but even he was stunned by Paul Gallen’s comments after beating Lucas Browne.

Australian heavyweight champion Justis Huni isn’t much of a trash talker.

Yet the Brisbane boxer couldn’t help but react when asked about Paul Gallen’s recent comments after his win over Lucas Browne, when the former NRL star said he was “scared” in the lead up to the bout with the former WBA champion.

“That’s pretty odd,” Huni told Wide World of Sports.

“I don’t know about scared – I get nervous but I wouldn’t be scared.

“If you’ve done all the hard work and you’ve left no stone unturned there’s no reason for you to be afraid. You shouldn’t be scared of your opponent.”

Huni and Gallen are set to face off on June 16 with the Gold Coast Convention Centre penciled as the venue for what’s being touted as a State of Origin type clash. The bout is seen as a launching pad for Huni’s Olympic tilt with the star taking on Christian Tsoye later this month before his Main Event pay-per-view against the former NRL star.

Huni watched on at home when Gallen shocked Australian sports fans with a dominant first round KO win over Browne. What surprises Huni is why Gallen would feel the need to tell the media he was “scared” of Browne. According to Huni, Browne “doesn’t scare” him especially “boxing-wise”.

But when it comes to Gallen’s prospects as a boxer, Huni can’t find fault with how he has handled himself. The win over Browne improved his record to 11-0-1 (6 KOs) and Huni believes he’s proved himself as a genuine boxer now.

“I’m very impressed with what he’s accomplished in the ring,” he continued. “He does very well for himself. He works very hard.

“He’s a been a pro athlete for 20 years now. He’s brought that same energy from rugby league to boxing.  All I can say is good on him.

“Once he landed some shots on him (Browne) – Gallen he has a big fuel tank he wasn’t going to stop. When he dropped him the first time I knew that was it because he was going to put the pressure on Browne.”

Huni is the first Australian to win a title belt, in any division, on debut after he beat Faiga ‘Django’ Opelu in his first professional bout to claim the Australian heavyweight title in October 2020. Such was Huni’s dominance, Opelu’s corner threw in the towel in the seventh round.

While Huni’s foray into the professional ranks has been brief, the rising star has mixed it with the best amateurs in the world for several years. In 2016, the Brisbane fighter won gold in the super heavyweight division at the youth championships in Saint Petersburg Russia, while he took home bronze at the AIBA World Championships in 2019. Gallen has had more fights than Huni at the professional level, but don’t let that fool you, says the fighter from Logan.

“He might have had more fights as a pro but I’ve had a full amateur career,” he said.

“I’ve travelled around the world fought in a lot of international tournaments. That’s the difference. I’m on a different level.”

There are noticeable differences between the amateur and pro ranks in practical terms, however the most telling is the need to sell fights to keep a fighter’s career relevant and financially viable.

Huni’s skills inside the ring are undeniable. However, there’s a lot more to being successful in the fight game than just dominating in the ring. Selling a fight is paramount to the bottom line, yet that side can be troubling for humble personalities.

The likes of Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor, Anthony Mundine and even Gallen to an extent have talked trash incessantly in order to build interest and it has paid off massively. While Huni realises there are several facets to the fight game, he’s still not comfortable being anybody but himself.

“Good on them for making their money but it’s just not me,” he added. “I could never be like that. I do what I do which is boxing and that’s about it.

“I don’t even talk that much in general. In front of media and stuff I’m probably the worst person in front of the cameras and stuff. You can barely get two words out of me. I’m bad.

“I’m a shy person and I’m humble. I’ve always been a shy person. Only recently I started to come out of my shell and talk to more people.

“I’m getting used to it a bit more because I’m in front of a lot more people. Hopefully one day I get better at talking in front of cameras and stuff.”

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