Justis Huni’s Olympic dreams are over with the Australian heavyweight boxing champion requiring surgery for a broken right hand.
The Australian Olympic Committee on Wednesday confirmed Huni had withdrawn from the squad.
Huni, undefeated in his five professional fights and rated a genuine gold-medal hope for Australia, suffered the injury – known as “boxer’s knuckle” – before his victory over Christian Tsoye last month in Sydney.
Huni’s trainer-father Rocki Huni said his son aggravated it during his win over Paul Gallen last week. “He damaged both hands but the left hand was fine. We got away with it just with a needle,” Rocki Huni said. “His right hand didn’t fare so well. I was told by the surgeon that he needs surgery in the tendon. He’d be absolutely shattered to miss the Olympics. It’s just not good.”
Huni admitted before fighting Gallen in a blockbuster that earned the Queenslander more than $200,000 and raised his profile immeasurably that it was a gamble so close to the Olympics.
“There’s always a risk getting into the ring,” he said. “But that’s what we do all the training for, to make it less of a risk. I’m going to try [sustain] as the least much damage as I can; pretty much like my last fight against Christian Tsoye – stay long, box well, keep him at the end of my punches.”
Instead, Gallen inadvertently lived up to his pre-fight threat to shatter Huni’s Olympic dreams any way he could. “Their No 1 concern is the Olympics. That’s their No 1 concern. Well, I’m here to tell all of them – Justis you’re included – I’m here to do everything I can to make sure that you don’t go to the Olympics,” Gallen said.
“Whether it’s break your jaw, break your face, break your arm, I don’t care what it is. I’m going to bring everything I can to break something in you so that you don’t go to the Olympics. That dream since you’ve been seven years old is going to be fucked.”