Australian heavyweight boxing prodigy Justis Huni has booked his next fight and it’s already going to be a tough meeting when he takes on New Zealand’s Kiki Toa Leutele on November 4 at the Nissan Arena in Brisbane.
The 23-year-old is set to return to the venue where he claimed his 10-lap unanimous victory over Joe Goodall in June.
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Originally scheduled to meet Leutele as the co-main event of Jai Opetaia’s IBF cruiserweight title fight against Mairis Briedis, the fight was thrown through a loop when injuries and Covid wreaked havoc with the bout.
But instead of battling Leutele, Huni battled Goodall as the New Zealander and his team plotted the Australian golden boy’s demise.
Leutele has a professional record of eight wins, including seven KOs, one loss and two draws – his only loss at the hands of the WBO and IBF put Aussie Demsey McKean in a controversial points decision.
Leutele said that although he has only fought once this year – a second round TKO win over Lui Te’o – he said he trained hard for the Huni fight with a laser-like focus.
“It was good because this whole year they have been putting it off and it was frustrating getting the ball going for practice,” Leutele told news.com.au. “It’s good that it’s all coming together.”
But the delay proved motivating for Leutele and his team, as they claimed the Huni camp was disrespectful, after reports emerged that Huni would take on Briedis in his first fight and go to heavyweight on October 29. However, it seems that this is now the case. probably form before early 2023.
For Leutele’s trainer Isaac Peach of Peach Boxing, the whole drama only feeds the unrest.
“We were supposed to fight them when Goodall fought, they went to get Goodall and left Kiki sitting here with no fight, no money,” Peach said.
“They’ve done it again and gone after Briedis and the only reason they’re not fighting him is because Briedis doesn’t want to.
“But it’s disrespectful to have treated us like shit and we’re just going to knock him out.
“We were supposed to fight when Goodall fought, there was no injury, nothing. They went and took Goodall and left Kiki here with a signed contract and no fight. Horrible. If we were millionaires we would sue them .
“Whatever they say it’s just s**t we’re supposed to fight for a year and then they advertised Briedis to fight on October 29 so they would do the exact same thing to us again.
“Now that Briedis doesn’t want it, we have a chance. So we’re going to take our chance. Karma comes along in life, treat people like shit and it comes back to burn you and that’s what’s going to happen in this battle.”
Something Huni should definitely pay attention to in Leutele is the lesson from the last time the New Zealander fought in Australia.
Leutele took on the now globally ranked McKean and suffered the only loss of his career to date, a unanimous points loss (98-92×2, 97-93) in a 10-rounder in May 2021.
Leutele believes he won the fight after leaving McKean stunned in the fight, saying the Aussie hadn’t made any significant attacks.
But when asked what he got out of the fight, Leutele said: “You have to take them out there or you won’t get the decision.”
Peach said he has a much better Kiki Toa Leutele for this fight.
“Justis Huni doesn’t care about Kiki Toa. Kiki Toa has not been talked about in the past year. We only have one focus and that’s Justis Huni,” Peach said.
‘Justis doesn’t think like us. Justis isn’t hungry like us. Justis is thinking about a world title – six fights against no one and they are talking about world titles. (Huni’s promoter) Dean Lonergan needs to get his head read. He is a dreamer. He’s got the dullest, quietest heavyweight in boxing history who doesn’t even hit hard and he’s talking about that shit.
“We have nothing man, we have from humble New Zealand. We’re not in LA or wherever he is. We’re here in the rain and the cold and we’re working hard and we’re going to come, it’s going to be a Rocky story and we’re going to knock him out.
“We are going to show that people who come out of nowhere can be something. They’ve had it all, they’ve always had it. We have nothing. And that’s what we love. That is our motivation, that is our drive. Kiki has three beautiful children. He has more drive than anything.”
Huni, who spoke to news.com.au from Los Angeles, where he has returned to work with legendary trainer Manny Pacquiao in Justin Fortune, is ready to spar with the likes of WBO, IBF and WBC ranked heavyweight star Frank Sanchez. on a month-long training camp in the coming days.
But while Leutele’s team wants to paint the picture that Huni has everything to lose and they have everything to gain, the Aussie claimed he had enough to fight for.
“I also have a lot to gain, this is not just a fight,” Huni said.
“Every fight is strategic to get me to that fight for the world title. He’s fought against who they say is the best in Australia, Demsey McKean, he’s fought him and apparently he believes he won that fight and a lot of people think he won that fight, so it makes sense.
“When I clear Kiki easily, it just shows that there are levels. It will be a good test to see where I stand.
“There is always something to lose. I have a lot to lose, but I also have a lot to gain from this fight. Every fight is one step closer to where I want to be. They can say what they want to say, they have literally said the same thing as every other opponent I’ve faced.”
It has been a tough year in 2022 for Huni, who originally planned to fight seven times this year but has only fought Goodall once so far after Covid attacks and injuries derailed his plans.
Hoping to fit in a third fight before the end of the year after tangling with Leutele, Huni said he plans to return to training immediately after the November 4 clash.
When he ran into yet another big puncher in Leutele, Huni brushed aside the criticism that has followed his career so far that he was unable to deliver the knockout blow.
“They say they have that one punch that I’m missing, that’s nothing new,” Huni said.
“That’s everyone’s favorite rule. I don’t even respond anymore. Everyone knows how the last boys ended up.
“Virtually all I have to refer to is the current world champion in (Oleksandr) Usyk, who has just gone the full distance twice against one of the heaviest heavyweight punchers in the world in Anthony Joshua. I’m just showing, skills pay the bills. That’s what it’s all about. Everyone wants to talk about their knockout power and stuff, but you have to be able to get that knockout power to have it.
“I’m just talking about the wins. The wins will take you to the world title. That’s pretty much all I’m trying to do, get the world title and hopefully get a world title to Australia, that’s the dream man. get in knockout now or go all the way, I don’t really care as long as I get those wins.”