Paul Gallen and Justin Hodges have traded verbal jabs all week but now it’s time for the pair to put their differences aside in the ring.
The two rugby league legends face off in what will be Gallen’s final professional fight and that is just one of the highly-anticipated bouts on Wednesday night’s stacked card.
Headlining the event will be Australian boxing villain Michael Zerafa, who will be looking to take one final step towards a world title blockbuster when he takes on Danilo Creati.
You can follow along here at foxsports.com.au for all the latest updates from every fight!
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Gal & Hodges CLASH over round lengths | 01:07
WHAT TIME DO THE FIGHTS START?
The first fight is scheduled for 4.35pm, with the main card and pay-per-view event to officially begin at around 7pm.
Gallen and Hodges should make the ring walks at around 9pm, with Zerafa and Creati shortly after at around 9.30pm, depending how long the earlier fights go for.
‘YOU’LL HAVE TO TUNE IN’: HODGES’ CHEAP SHOT WARNING TO GALLEN
Hodges lit the fuse for Wednesday night’s fight with Gallen when he claimed at Monday’s press conference that he had been practicing “cheap shots”.
“I have to,” he said, turning to Gallen and adding: “He does”.
“I heard he’s been doing it so why not? I’ve been learning off some good opponents back home and why not. If the ref doesn’t break it up. You’ll just have to tune in on Wednesday.”
The last fight between the two was marred by allegations from Hodges of an “illegal punch”, who Jeff Fenech claims would have won by disqualification should he have stayed down.
Gallen though has consistently defended himself by claiming the punch was legal if taking into account the referee’s instructions before the fight.
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He also accused Hodges of hitting him “late” at one occasion in the fight but it looks like his Queensland rival is prepared to test the boundaries again.
Although tell Gallen that and he does not seem too worried, suggesting Hodges will be in for a far tougher challenge this time around as he is no longer following Ben Hannant.
“You’re in there by yourself this time,” Gallen said at the press conference earlier this week.
“What are you going to do? You must be s***ing yourself. You’re not the third man this time. You’re walking in by yourself, I won’t be tired, you won’t have your 110-kilo front rower doing all the damage yourself.
“You’ll be f***ed. He’s in all sorts and I know he’s in all sorts.”
‘DELUSIONAL’ RIVAL IN THE WAY OF ZERAFA’S TITLE DREAMS
While Gallen and Hodges will be looking to put their differences aside on Wednesday, there is far more on the line for Zerafa.
He is looking at a blockbuster world title bout with boxing superstar Gennady Golovkin but in order to get there he must first defeat Danilo Creati, who Zerafa labeled “delusional” earlier in the week.
That came after Creati, who you can read more about hereclaimed that he had watched hours of footage from Zerafa’s previous fights and been left less than impressed.
“I literally know every one of his movements, his favorite combo, what he does, when he jabs body, how many times he blinks from when he wakes up to when he goes to sleep so I think he’s not understanding the trouble he’s putting himself [into],” Creati said.
“Every fight is not impressing me.”
Zerafa though had plenty to say in response, branding Creati “delusional” and looking forward to the chance to “silence” his chatty rival.
“For me, I’m 30-4 and 30 of those fighters, I’ve stopped 20 of them,” Zerafa said.
“He’s stopped one of them. I’m excited and can’t wait to silence him once and for all.”
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Zerafa one win away from GGG fight | 02:29
EX-ROOSTERS STAR, RISING BUNNIES GUN MAKE DEBUTS
Elsewhere, earlier in the night all eyes will be on former Roosters front rower Sio Siua Taukeiaho as he makes his professional boxing debut against ex-NRL hardman Jaiman Lowe.
Lowe, who has one professional fight to his name — a loss to the undefeated John Maila via third round TKO — knows he is the underdog for Wednesday’s fight.
It is not a tag he necessarily believes though, especially given Taukeiaho is yet to prove himself in the ring.
“Everyone’s eulogized me, including my middle-daughter,” he said at this week’s press conference.
“She reckons I’m going to get killed. It’s interesting everyone’s got him such a heavy favorite when no one has seen him fight and very limited people have seen me fight. Let’s see what happens.
“I know what I can do.”
‘You must be s****** yourself!’ | 01:20
It seems like Taukeiaho knows what he will do too and has been planning accordingly, preparing for Lowe to come out hard but tire as the fight progresses.
“He’ll bring power, that’s for sure,” Taukeiaho said.
“I’m pretty sure there’s no speed in that, I’ll work around him and see how we go, if not I’ll close it in round two. I definitely want to win if not I’ll knock him out.”
NRL fans will also get a glimpse into Daniel Suluka-Fifita’s boxing skills when the Rabbitohs prop enters the ring to face Bryce Jones in his first professional fight earlier on the card.
Training with Johnny Lewis, who has worked with Australian boxing royalty like Jeff Fenech and Kostya Tszyu, Suluka-Fifita is ready to make his mark as the latest league product to put on the gloves.
FULL FIGHT CARD
Michael Zerafa vs. Danilo Creati — middleweight
Paul Gallen vs. Justin Hodges II — heavyweight
Paulo Aokuso vs. David Zegarra — light heavyweight
Sio Siua Taukeiaho vs. Jaiman Lowe — heavyweight
Ty Telford vs. Joel Taylor — welterweight
Liam Talivaa vs. Louis Marsters — heavyweight
Daniel Suluka-Fifita vs. Bryce Jones — heavyweight
Shanell Dargan vs. Chandni Mehra — featherweight
Tommy Browne vs. Jorge Kapeen — super welterweight
Micky Pengue vs. Ben Hussain — super welterweight
George Peterson vs. Gary Phillips — heavyweight
Tywarna Campbell vs. Deanha Hobbs — super featherweight
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