The reason it took Justis Huni so long to get in the ring with Kiki Leutele after signing a contract earlier this year is simple to Huni’s father, Rocki.
“We didn’t delay it, Fox Sports didn’t want this fight,” Huni Sr told Wide World of Sports.
“They think it was too easy and it wasn’t a fight they wanted. That’s why the show is a linear show rather than a pay-per-view.”
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The 23-year-old Huni (6-0, 4 KOs) takes on highly rated New Zealand heavyweight Leutele, 28, on Friday night at the Nissan Arena in Brisbane.
The fight contract was signed earlier this year only for Huni to turn his back on the Kiwi in favor of fighting Joe Goodall at a pay-per-view event.
Leutele’s coach Isaac Peach has spoken of the ‘disrespect’ shown by the Huni side which 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 added. Huni.
“The contract has been in place for a while, so we’ll fill in the contractual side of things.”
When asked if Huni would fight Leutele if a pre-agreement hadn’t been reached, Rocki Huni replied: “No because no one knows who he is in Australia.
“We would probably fight someone more famous. Look, he’s a good fighter, I hope he brings that and he brings the best version of himself, because Justis is hitting his stride, he’ll be ready. I doubt the fight will go far.”
So why make a deal with Leutele if the broadcaster you partnered with didn’t see it as a viable fight?
“I have no idea,” Huni replied. “It’s something that (promoter) Dean (Lonergan) and the late Stu Duncan (former promoter, manager and matchmaker) organized. For me it was a good fight but obviously Fox didn’t see it from 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 type fighter. I don’t have anything bad to say about them. to be honest he seems like a good guy.”
The “trick” Huni Sr is referring to is the young fighter’s transition from an amateur style to a professional heavyweight. The Queenslander recently trained at Australian Justin Fortune’s gym in Los Angeles. The goal is to transform Huni from a fighter who relied on punches to someone who can finish the fight with just one punch.
Rocki says his son has always had power, but now he’s starting to learn how to harness it.
“He always had the power, but he wasn’t always able to throw it properly,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s going to happen right away, it could happen. The last three opponents he’s fought with, he’s rocked those guys. He’s starting to have the style, it’s just a matter of make a habit.”
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