NSW rugby league captain Paul Gallen hopes to squeeze in one more boxing bout before the NRL season starts, but isn’t sure he’ll get the opportunity.
Gallen improved his professional boxing record to 2-0 with two KOs after his former Cronulla teammate Anthony Watts was forced to retire with a shoulder injury halfway through the first round of their heavyweight bout at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion on Wednesday.
While some sceptics might suggest the quick finish was another black eye and farcical chapter for boxing, Watts did appear genuinely injured and distressed.
It was ironic that Watts was the fighter who had the injury issue on the night, given that Gallen’s participation had been thrown into doubt after he spent part of last week in hospital because of a golden staph infection.
“I went home Saturday afternoon from hospital and I thought to myself `you’ve got to have a crack, you can’t just not have a crack’,” Gallen said.
“I went downstairs and started shadow boxing and fortunately it felt okay and I rang the promoter straight away and said `I still want to fight’.
“I didn’t do too much for three or four days and made it to the night.”
Gallen had completed just one day of training back with the Sharks, following his doping ban, before he needed to go to hospital.
He would like to fight again in January or February before the NRL season starts, but may struggle to get on a card as there’s unlikely to be many promotions in the first few weeks of the new year.
“We sort of pencilled (another fight) with `Flanno’ (Sharks coach Shane Flanagan) a while back, but I don’t know what cards are even available, I wouldn’t know who to look at fighting,” Gallen said.
“I’ll just wait and see if any cards some up and see if there’s any opportunities.”
Prior to Watts’ injury, Gallen had expected the bout to go the distance.
“I thought we were going to go all four rounds, I felt we were both too tough to knock each other out,” Gallen said.
The other fight featuring an NRL player also finished inside a minute and a half.
Sydney Roosters youngster Willis Meehan (2-0, 1 KO), the son of former world heavyweight title contender Kali Meehan, stopped Alofa Solitua.