It’s a fight that’s been teased for many years at this point but the man to make Sonny Bill Williams Vs Paul Gallen may finally have arrived.
The world’s biggest boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has teased that he may finally be the man to get Sonny Bill Williams and Paul Gallen to finally settle their boxing beef.
The 40-year-old Paul Gallen has been chasing a fight with Williams for years but has been unable to lock the rugby and rugby league dual international down for a fight.
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Gallen has had a successful finish to his athletic career, defeating the likes of UFC great Mark Hunt and former WBA (regular) champion Lucas Browne as well as a host of rugby league stars.
But incredibly, he’s also twice fought for the Australian heavyweight title, losing to Justis Huni in a tenth round TKO and going the distance with Kris Terzievski in May.
Williams on the other hand has not long been focusing on his boxing, going the distance against 2-14 fighter Waikato Falefehi last June, before a stunning first round KO of AFL great Barry Hall, who previously had a six round draw against Gallen.
Gallen has long been bullish on the fight actually happening however, having said: “The logistics of even getting together is near impossible,” last year.
It was after they reportedly got offered a “life changing” amount of money — reportedly $4 million each — only for Williams’ people to knock it back.
But while Gallen has long wanted the fight, he has conceded that it doesn’t appear likely as he aims to retire from sport at the end of the year.
“I’m 99.9 per cent sure, I’m ready to start enjoying life in retirement,” he told news.com.au in March. “Not a lot left in the old body.”
While Gallen and Williams did shake hands after the latter’s defeat of Hall, it’s unknown who either man’s next fight is at the moment.
Enter Eddie Hearn.
On Friday, Hearn announced Matchroom Boxing’s first Australian card, headlined by the clash of No. 1 WBO junior welterweight contender Liam Paro (22-0) and Jeff Fenech’s protege Brock Jarvis (20-0), who is stepping up to the 140 pound division for the first time.
Matchroom also have the likes of IBF bantamweight champion Ebanie Bridges, former Olympian Skye Nicolson and ranked heavyweight Demsey McKean on its books.
But while Hearn did the rounds after announcing his first Australian fight card in September he added that Gallen Vs Williams was on his radar.
Speaking on Jaben Ryan’s The Punch Podcast if Sonny Bill Williams is on his radar Hearn said he’d like to get him on a card.
“I’ve met Sonny Bill and I really like the guy. I think he’s a great individual, I think he’s a good fighter,” Hearn said.
“He’s a legend of the sport of rugby but he’s really putting the time in. A lot of these guys, whether they’re YouTubers or footballers, some of them are boxing at a decent level. I don’t believe Sonny Bill Williams is going to go on and win world championships but he’s improving and he’s at least capable of competing against professional fighters. So is Jake Paul.
“But I would love to make Sonny Bill Williams against Paul Gallen. Paul Gallen of course lost recently (against Terzievski), but that’s a huge fight.
“I feel like boxing in Australia has become big through footballers. I don’t really want to concentrate too much on the footballers but I also understand the number and the interest that fights like that can create.
“But we know Sonny Bill Williams very well, whether that’s a fight we look to do — we’re going to be here in September with this fight card and then we’re going to do another fight card in December, so maybe that’s something we look at.”
Hearn said he sees plenty of potential in the Australian market, teasing the international fighters such as Canelo Alvarez and Anthony Joshua coming down under in the future.
A December card would fit with Gallen’s timeline.
Matchroom go big for Aussie debut
As for the first card, the Paro Vs Jarvis fight is a great start to Matchroom’s Australian presence.
Paro had the opportunity to wait and get a shot a undisputed junior welterweight king Josh Taylor but is risking it all against Jarvis.
“I’ve worked my a** off to get to No. 1 the hard way, I’m not going to let no kid come here and take it,” Paro said. “Brock is a good fighter, I respect him. You don’t get to 20-0 for no reason. Like Alfie (promoter DiCarlo) said before, the competition we have faced, you can’t compare. His 20-0 record is equivalent to my 7-0 so we’ve going to see that in September. I’ve got a statement to make.”
Jarvis said it “almost seems unfair” to get a shot at Paro having not fought in the division before.
“It opens a lot of doors for me,” Jarvis said. “My main focus right now is just winning the fight. I don’t really care about what comes after it. I haven’t even thought about it.”
Speaking to news.com.au earlier in the week, Hearn said Matchroom wanted to make the best fights available.
“I think Brock is so exciting, he looks great, he’s never in a dull fight,” Hearn said. “But he needed to move up to lightweight, but he’s massive.
“That’s why I said to Jeff Fenech, ‘what about an All-Australian fight with Liam Paro at 140, it’s an absolute war.
“It’s quite funny because (Paro’s promoter) Angelo di Carlo and (Jarvis’ trainer and mentor) Jeff Fenech are family friends and you’ve got them calling each other’s bluff. Angelo di Carlo said, ‘no, Jeff wouldn’t take that fight’. Jeff came straight back and said ‘we love that fight’. It’s the kind of fight that we’d like to enter the market with. Hopefully we can get that tied up this week and it’d be a great fight.”