Things turned ugly ahead of Wednesday night’s highly anticipated boxing bout between NRL legend Paul Gallen and former UFC contender Mark Hunt.
The pair have been trading insults all week leading up to the heavyweight showdown at Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium, and a fiery scuffle broke out at the official weight-in on Tuesday.
The Super Samoan, 46, shoved the Cronulla Sharks veteran, 39, as he was getting off the scale before match officials and cornermen leaped in to hold the hotheaded fighters apart.
As the situation looked to be under control, the K1 kickboxing World Grand Prix champion then took a wild swing at the former front-rower before the two were eventually separated.
Things turned ugly ahead of Wednesday night’s highly anticipated boxing bout between NRL legend Paul Gallen (pictured left) and former UFC contender Mark Hunt (pictured right)
The Super Samoan, 46, shoved the Cronulla Sharks veteran, 39, as he was getting off the scale
‘It surprised me,’ Gallen said with a smile on his face.
‘He’s trying to intimidate me… but I’m prepared to go six rounds.
‘I’m going to shock everyone and get the win.’
Hunt is the overwhelming favourite despite his age and two-year hiatus from combat sports.
The knockout artist will also have a weight advantage of 24kg after tipping the scales at 127kg – with Gallen coming in at 103kg.
The Sydney-based mixed martial artist has been competing professionally since the late 1990s and has racked up 43 kickboxing matches and 29 MMA fights against the world’s best.
Although he has not fought in a boxing match for two decades, he’s known for his heavy hands and boxing-centric fighting style.
The pair have been trading insults all week leading up to the heavyweight showdown at Sydney’s Bankwest Stadium
Hunt (pictured right) will also have a weight advantage of 24kg after tipping the scales at 127kg – with Gallen (pictured left) coming in at 103kg
‘Gallen has been talking a whole lot of rubbish, but now we’re here, it’s show time,’ Hunt said.
‘It increases my fire to put him to sleep.’
The former New South Wales Blues Captain has had just 10 boxing matches with nine wins and a draw.
Hunt branded Gallen a ‘part-time fighter’, while the rugby league great accused the so-called Super Samoan of making excuses for himself for when he loses.
‘Making excuses already – you haven’t fought for three years, haven’t boxed for 20 years,’ Gallen said earlier this week.
‘I’ve got no excuses. I’m going to step into the ring, I’m prepared. You’re just setting those little traps in case you get beat.
‘I’ll win comfortably.’
Paul Gallen and Mark Hunt (pictured together) have mouthed off during their press conference ahead of Wednesday night’s boxing bout
Fans were disappointed after Gallen and Barry Hall’s (pictured together) match finished in a draw with the former NRL star saying it felt ‘like a loss’
Hunt (right punching Derrick Lewis) is known for his ability to end a match in an instant with a knock-out
Despite the trash talk, Gallen, unbeaten in 10 fights, does have immense respect for Hunt.
‘He’s the biggest name in Australian combat sports, probably for the last 20 years,’ the 2016 NRL premiership-winning captain said.
‘It’s a huge challenge for myself. A huge step up. I understand that.
‘But I’m ready for it. I’m ready to take whatever Mark’s got and give back even more.
‘He should have stayed in retirement. He won’t come out of it after this.’
Hunt said the 39-year-old was out of his depth.
‘This is fighting. I don’t know where he gets his ideas. He’s talking s**t again,’ Hunt said.
‘I’ll put your a**e to sleep, that’s what’s going to happen. This is not footy.
‘I’m going to fix you, man. I’m going to fix you good.’
Hunt’s reference to 20 years away from boxing had Gallen claiming his opponent was preparing himself in case he lost, leading Hunt to double down on Gallen’s bicep injury.
Hunt (pictured in training) took aim at Gallen’s bicep injury, saying his opponent got hurt because he was ‘j***ing off’
Gallen has won ten professional boxing matches after leaving his career in NRL behind
‘I ain’t the one calling injury. ‘Hey Mark, I can’t fight.’ Why? ‘Because I’m weak a**,” Hunt said. ”I ain’t fighting Mark. I can’t fight you, I pulled my bicep from jerking off.’
‘Use your left hand, not your right hand.’
But Gallen reminded Hunt that he wouldn’t be getting another big pay day if it wasn’t for him.
‘You should be thanking me, boy. I had two or three other options. I chose you. I chose you. You had no other options,’ Gallen said.
‘What else are you going to do? Who else are you going to fight?’
Hunt said: ‘I don’t need to pump myself up. I’ve been sitting at the top table of combat sport for two decades.’
Asked how he thought the six-round fight would end, Gallen said he didn’t care.
‘Everyone wants me to sit here and say I’m going to knock him out. I don’t care. I just want to win the fight – do what I’ve trained to do and win the fight.’
Both athletes reportedly earned around $600,000 each from the match.
Gallen (pictured during his fight with Barry Hall) claimed the UFC heavyweight was making ‘excuses’ in case he loses