Boxing 2022: Paul Gallen stunned by Justin Hodges in epic fight, rematch, Ben Hannant, result

Well that didn’t quite go to script. 

Paul Gallen has survived his unusual boxing marathon, defeating NRL legends Ben Hannant and Justin Hodges in Brisbane on Thursday night. 

Fighting twice on the same evening was always going to be difficult but the two Queenslanders made Gallen work extra hard for his victories.

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Hannant took on Gallen first and can hold his head high after going the full four rounds and leaving his opponent bloodied as Gallen won via unanimous decision.

An hour later, Hodges stepped in the ring and came out swinging – landing a series of brutal blows on Gallen as he dominated the early exchanges as a mega upset looked on the cards.

Hodges peppered Gallen and dropped him as the Cronulla Sharks great fell onto the canvas on all fours.

Main Event’s Ben Damon said: “He’s rocked him! A huge start from Justin Hodges. Gallen needs to weather a storm here against a fired-up Justin Hodges.

“That’s the best we’ve ever seen him.”

But in typical Gallen style he got to his feet and returned fire, hammering Hodges with countless shots to the body and head to take back control of the fight.

Hodges was wobbly on his feet by the fourth and final round and one last jab from Gallen was enough to knock him out and the referee stopped the fight.

Hodges wanted to continue but Gallen was awarded his second victory of the evening by TKO. 

The Queenslander branded the referee’s stoppage “absolute bulls***” and Gallen immediately agreed to a rematch in the ring straight after the fight. 

Gallen has one fight left on his contract and wants to fight Hodges again in November in a rematch with six three-minute rounds.

“I know the ref’s got a job to do, but there was no way in the world I was hurt,” Hodges said.

“It’s absolute bullcrap. But I’m an ultimate professional, I take it on the chin.

“If Gal wants to do six three-minute rounds, it’s up to (No Limit’s) Matty and George (Rose). I want a rematch because that was bulls***.”

There was no love lost between the two fighters in the lead-up but Gallen was full of praise for Hodges, who he said knocked the life out of him with a brutal shot.

“That was really tough,” he said after the fight.

“Getting up again, it was probably harder than I thought it was going to be, to be honest.

“I got dropped by Herman Purcell in my first ever fight, (Justis) Huni semi dropped me. Other than that, that’s the first time I’ve been put down by a shot that’s absolutely stung me and rocked my brains.

“Got me fair and square. It took me five seconds to get up and make sure I was OK and suck some deep breaths in.”

MAIN CARD RESULTS

Paul Gallen def Justin Hodges via TKO in Round 3

Joe Goodall def Arsene Fosso via RTD in Round 3

Lachie Higgins def Ben Hussain via TKO in Round 2

Junior Tafa def David Tuliloa via TKO in Round 3

Paul Gallen def Ben Hannant via UD (40-36 x 3)

Ty Telford def Vanlalawmpuia via TKO in Round 1

Renold Quinlan def Jack Bowen via KO in Round 5

PRELIMS RESULTS

Miles Zalewski def Shiva Mishra via RTD (corner threw in the towel) in Round 3

Jalen Tait def Sachin Mudaliar via TKO in Round 2

Ange Harries def Angel Rushton  via UD (49-46 x 2, 50-45)

Desley Robinson def Stephanie Mfongwot via UD (49-46 x 3)

Updates

Gallen admits he was seriously rocked by Hodges’ shots.

“That was really tough,” he said.

“Getting up again, it was probably harder than I thought it was going to be, to be honest.

“I got dropped by Herman Purcell in my first ever fight, (Justis) Huni semi dropped me. Other than that, that’s the first time I’ve been put down by a shot that’s absolutely stung me and rocked my brains.

“Got me fair and square. It took me five seconds to get up and make sure I was OK and suck some deep breaths in.”

Paul Gallen is back in the ring against a fresh Justin Hodges.

1st round: Hodges came out absolutely swinging and connected with some heavy uppercuts that hurt Gallen. Round 1 to Hodges, could an upset be on the cards?

Main Event’s Ben Damon said: “He’s rocked him! A huge start from Justin Hodges. Gallen needs to weather a storm here against a fired-up Justin Hodges.

“That’s the best we’ve ever seen him.”

2nd round: What a wild fight we have on our hands. Hodges continued to land big shots and knocked Gallen gown with a heavy right hand.

Gallen got back to his feet and illegally pushed Hodges onto the ropes and Hodges nearly fell out of the ring.

“The referee has lost total control,” Jeff Fenech said.

3rd round: Gallen went to another level and hammered Hodges with a barrage of blows, leaving him dazed and wobbly on his feet.

He pounded Hodges’ face and the referee stepped in to stop the fight, much to the disappointment of Hodges, who wanted to continue on but his trainer was already in the ring anyway.

Gallen won via TKO, proving he is still too good for whichever footy stars are thrown at him.

“Love him or hate him, Paul Gallen is one of the greatest athletes Australia has ever produced,” Jeff Horn said.

1st round: A solid first round for Ben Hannant, who went on the offensive and landed a couple of strong blows. But Gallen didn’t seem too bothered.

2nd round: Gallen has warmed up now and came out firing, landing some heavy uppercuts on Hannant. The Queenslander’s style is untidy but he’s managing to hang in there.

3rd round: A solid round for both fighters, with Hannant exceeding expectations and continuing to throw jabs at Gallen, who has some redness on his face.

4th round: Hannant was gassed and dropped his hands but survived the four rounds. Gallen was clearly the better fighter but Hannant managed to open a cut on Gallen’s cheek, which Justin Hodges will be licking his lips at.

Ben Hannant held his own against Paul Gallen.
Ben Hannant held his own against Paul Gallen.

But Gallen won via unanimous decision (40-36 x 2, 40-37).

Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech said on Main Event: “I honestly didn’t think Ben Hannant would last four rounds.”

“I said from day one Ben Hannant’s the tougher guy,” Gallen said.

“He’s tough as nails. I pretty much expected that. He fought really well. Full credit to him, he did really well. It’s about Hodgo now.”

Finally, it’s here.

After much suspense, Ben Hannant will fight Paul Gallen first in a fight of four two-minute rounds.

Gallen couldn’t wait to get things started and stepped into the ring without any walkout music and minimal fanfare, forcing Hannant to come out quickly.

MAIN CARD

Paul Gallen defeated Justin Hodges via TKO

Joe Goodall defeated Arsene Fosso via TKO

Lachie Higgins defeated Ben Hussain via TKO

Junior Tafa defeated David Tuliloa via stoppage

Paul Gallen defeated Ben Hannant via unanimous decision (40-36 x 2, 40-37)

Vanlalawmpuia defeated Ty Telford (Round 1 stoppage)

Jack Bowen def by Renold Quinlan via KO in Round 5

PRELIMS

Miles Zalewski def Shiva Mishra via RTD (corner threw in the towel) in Round 3

Jalen Tait def Sachin Mudaliar via TKO in Round 2

Angel Rushton def by Ange Harries via UD (49-46 x 2, 50-45)

Desley Robinson def Stephanie Mfongwot via UD (49-46 x 3)

Gallen is the heavy favourite to beat both Hodges and Hannant, but the bookies have very little faith in Hannant doing any damage.

Several betting agencies have the former Bronco and Cowboy at odds of more than $10 to win, while Sportsbet have suspended betting on Hannant altogether.

Hodges has more favourable odds, but is still a rank outsider to beat Gallen at $6.

Paul Gallen is fully focused on fighting Justin Hodges and Ben Hannant tonight but there’s already an eye on his next fight, which will surely be the last time he steps in the boxing ring.

Gallen has made it clear he thinks he can beat any current or former rugby league player in a boxing fight, and No Limit’s promoters have drawn up a list of seven potential contenders for his swansong.

The list features some of the NRL’s toughest cookies: Matt Lodge, Junior Paulo, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Josh Aloiai, Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and Tom Flegler, who has been sparring with Hodges in the lead-up to tonight’s fight.

How will Paul Gallen wrap up his boxing career. Photo: Chris Hyde.
How will Paul Gallen wrap up his boxing career. Photo: Chris Hyde.

Gallen has one fight left on his No Limit contract and The Courier Mail is reporting the promoters are also considering a cross-combat fight with Australian UFC star Robert Whittaker.

No Limit has held talks with Whittaker about a blockbuster fight before Christmas this year.

Whittaker beat Marvin Vettori in his latest UFC outing a couple of weeks ago and a fight with him would be a bold way for Gallen to finish his boxing career.

Gallen (12-2, 7KO) has defied expectations in the ring but is weary of brain damage and going on too long after bruising losses to Justis Huni and Kris Terzievski in the last year.

Paul Gallen vs Justin Hodges/Ben Hannant

Joe Goodall vs Arsene Fosso

Benjamin Hussain vs Lachlan Higgins

Paul Gallen vs Justin Hodges/Ben Hannant

Junior Tafa vs David Tuliloa

Ty Telford vs Vanlalawmpuia

Jack Bowen vs Renold Quinlan

Miles Zalewski vs Shiva Mishra

Jalen Tait v Krishnil Mudaliar

Angel Rushton vs Ange Harris

Desley Robinson vs Stephanie Mfongwot

PRELIMS

Miles Zalewski vs. Shiva Mishra

Jalen Tait vs. Krishnil Mudaliar

Angel Rushton vs. Ange Harries

Desley Robinson vs. Stephanie Mfongwot

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