Australian heavyweight Justis Huni was forced to call a premature end to his American training camp after busting – and possibly breaking – the ribs of two sparring partners.
Already considered the Next Big Thing of Aussie boxing, 23-year-old Huni is now being dubbed ‘The Body Snatcher’ Stateside after an impressive five weeks in Los Angeles with trainer Justin Fortune.
Undefeated in all six fights since turning professional, Huni is now set to face New Zealand puncher Kiki Leutele in Brisbane, November 4.
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As part of preparations, the rising heavyweight has spent more than a month in West Hollywood training alongside Fortune.
Having spent the past 20 years working with the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Mike Tyson and James Toney — and having fought no less than Lennox Lewis himself — Fortune’s aim this camp was to teach Huni how to fight like Iron Mike.
While the boxer would not go into detail about his sparring sessions at the Fortune gym, foxsports.com.au understands at least two opponents had ribs damaged, and potentially broken – including one during Huni’s final session.
So impressive was the 110kg Queenslander, members of Fortune’s gym even took to dubbing him ‘The Body Snatcher’.
Asked about the result of his time spent in West Hollywood, Huni revealed Fortune had not only brought more power to his game, but also made him a “more aggressive” fighter.
“And far more aggressive,” says the fighter who returned home to Brisbane last Friday.
“My power is really coming through now.
“The experience Justin has, the knowledge he brings, it’s crazy. I learned so much and we clicked, especially towards the end of camp.
“In our first camp together I fell sick with Covid and only did two weeks. But this time it was five weeks – and every day.”
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Asked about being more aggressive, Huni continued: “I think it just comes with having more power.
“When you have power, learn how to put punches together with power, you become more of a bully. More aggressive.
“I was sparring quality American guys and I was showing I belong up there with them. And I’m now excited to show people that.”
Apart from helping him prepare for the Leutele bout, Fortune will also fly into Brisbane this Sunday so that he can help Huni through fight week and then by part of his corner at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena.
Hailing from Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, 28-year-old Leutele has lost only once in 11 professional fights — and even then controversially against another rising Aussie star, Demsey McKean, in May last year.
While Huni remains undefeated as a pro, his inability to knock opponents out has seen the Leutele’s team brand their rival an “unproven hype job”.
Only last month, trainer Isaac Peach suggested Huni would have to knock his fighter out if he wanted to prove all the talk about him true.
“Justis has a lot of pressure on him,” Peach said.
“He hasn’t knocked anyone out. Hasn’t done much of anything.
“He’s a hype job at the moment.”
To which Huni says what?
“That isn’t true,” he said. “And makes them sound silly.
“I’m a boxer.
“I don’t just get into the ring and take a hit to give one.
“And while I’m going to fight (more) aggressively, I’m also going to do it smart.”
Quizzed on his rival Huni added: “He has a good variety of punches, but doesn’t move much.
“Likes to stand in close and bang.
“So there isn’t anything too special about what he brings. Nothing I haven’t seen already.”