Paul Gallen fights his way off the floor to boxing victory
Daniel Geale fells Garth Wood after gloves tiff threatens boxing bout How the night’s fights unfolded
Paul Gallen overcame a first round knockdown to win his debut professional fight against Herman Ene-Purcell at the Hordern Pavillion.
Gallen finished the fight with a cut below his left eye after being caught early by Ene-Purcell and there was a hush amongst the crowd as he hit the deck.
The Cronulla and NSW captain admitted afterwards it was the first time he had been put on his backside but the 32-year-old recovered to stop Ene-Purcell amid wild scenes just before the end of the second round.
“I don’t know where it come from but he got me good and the next thing I know I was on my arse,” Gallen said.
“I’ve never been dropped before, to be honest with you. Even in footy I’ve never been dropped but I shook it off pretty quick.”
With his corner calling for him to “just box” rather than risk punching himself out, Gallen eventually got into his groove and proved too strong for the 22-year-old Brisbane-based Kiwi, who was in his fourth fight.
“He is a young kid, a tough guy and he got on the big stage tonight,” Gallen said. “I had sparred for six rounds but not against anyone as heavy as him.”
After working Ene-Purcell’s body, Gallen finished him off with a flurry of left and right hooks but the pair continued to fight after referee Gary Dean had called an end to proceedings 2 minutes 53 seconds into the second round.
With the NRL competition due to kick off in two weeks time, Gallen said he would now focus on helping the Sharks to their first premiership and ending the Blues eight year premiership drought.
“I am looking forward to doing weights now, I haven’t done weights for a while,” he said.
“I need to put a few kilos back on but I might look to have another fight later in the year.”
Having beaten All Blacks forward Liam Messam in the Fight For Life and now won a professional heavyweight belt, Gallen is looking towards a career in the ring after the remaining two years of his contract with Cronulla expires.
The Australian lock told Fairfax Media during last year’s World Cup that he would like to fight Sonny Bill Williams if he feels he is good enough and the win over Ene-Purcell was a step towards that.
Earlier, New Zealand light heavyweight Robert Berridge won a trans-Tasman brawl with a 10 round stoppage of Australian Kerry Foley.
The loss was the first time Foley had been KO’d in his 14 fight career but there calls from Berridge’s camp for the Sydneysider to be disqualified after continuing to punch on after the bell at the end of the eighth round.
Australian cruiserweight Brad Pitt also enjoyed a knockout win over Emosi Solitua, while Australia’s Shane Quinn beat Kiwi Jake Revell.
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