The reason why it’s taken so long for Justis Huni to get in the ring with Kiki Leutele after signing a contract earlier this year, is simple to Huni’s father, Rocki.
“It wasn’t us that put it off, Fox Sports didn’t want that fight,” Huni Sr told Wide World of Sports.
“They reckon it was too easy and wasn’t a fight they wanted. That’s why the show is a lineal show rather than a pay-per-view.”
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The 23-year-old Huni (6-0, 4 KOs) takes on the highly-rated New Zealand heavyweight Leutele, 28, on Friday night at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena.
The fight contract was signed earlier this year only for Huni to turn his back on the Kiwi in favor of fighting Joe Goodall in a pay-per-view event.
Leutele’s trainer Isaac Peach has been vocal about the “disrespect” exhibited by the Huni camp, which has left a sour taste in Leutele’s mouth.
“They wanted us to fight Goodall and at the end of the day it’s a business. If we can’t get money from Justis fighting in the ring it just doesn’t make sense,” Rocki Huni added.
“The contract has been in place for a while so we will fulfill the contract side of things.”
When asked if Huni would be fighting Leutele if a prior agreement hadn’t been reached, Rocki Huni said: “No, because no one knows who he is in Australia.
“We would probably be fighting someone that is more well known. Look, he’s a good fighter, I hope he brings it and brings the best version of himself, because Justis is hitting his stride, he’ll be ready. I doubt the fight will go the distance.”
So, why reach a deal with Leutele if the broadcaster you’ve partnered with didn’t see it as a viable fight?
“I’ve got no idea,” Huni responded. “That’s something that (promoter) Dean (Lonergan) and the late Stu Duncan (former promoter, manager, and matchmaker) organised. For me it was a good fight but obviously Fox didn’t see it that way.
“I needed this fight now because I want Justis to start working on some of the stuff he’s been working on and Kiki is the perfect person for that because he’s a puncher come forward type of fighter. I’ve got nothing bad to say about them to be honest, he seems like a good block.”
The “stuff” Huni Sr refers to is the young fighter’s transition from an amateur style to that of a professional heavyweight.The Queenslander trained recently at Australian Justin Fortune’s gym in Los Angeles. The aim is to transform Huni from a fighter who relies on scoring punches, into someone who can end the bout with one punch.
Rocki says his son always had power, but now he’s starting to learn how to harness it.
“He’s always had the power but he hasn’t always been able to throw it properly,” he said.
“I don’t think it will happen straight away, it might. The last three opponents he’s been sparring, he’s rocked these guys. He’s starting to get the style it’s just a matter of making it a habit.”
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