If there’s one group of people Paul Gallen got wrong, it’s the boxing purists who asked him about his involvement in the sport.
“I’m constantly ridiculed on social media, not so much by boxing coaches…but the general boxing fan always says I’m no good for the sport,” he said at the weigh-in. pre-fight.
“Well, the thing is, I’m good at the sport. I get attention, I bring eyeballs.
“I don’t really care about the boxing public or people’s recognition. People boo me, people cheer me on for a reason; they want to be me. I don’t care what they want to do, I do things they can’t do.”
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Gallen was slightly flippant when he said that without him some of these fights would be in front of a small crowd at a league club, but there is more than a kernel of truth in those words.
General interest in the sport has steadily declined in Australia since the days of Kostya Tszyu, Anthony Mundine, Danny Green and Jeff Horn providing moments of transition in an otherwise apathetic landscape.
But you’re talking to anyone in the boxing world right now, and the future couldn’t be brighter. Not only are the cards packed in quick succession, but there is genuine interest and hype around boxers for being boxers, rather than ex-football stars or celebrities.
It’s not just the fighters on display at Newcastle either. Michael Zerafa, Tim Tszyu and George Kambosos are moving the needle. Ebanie Bridges and Skye Nicolson are making waves in the women’s fighting game – and the future is only getting brighter.
Gallen said there was no doubt that he and other crossover fighters had helped rebuild boxing – an opinion that was unanimously supported by the other stars on the Wednesday night card who were interviewed.
“Honestly, I think it helped, and I said that from the start. I want to promote the sport because I love the sport, I’ve loved it since I was a kid,” he said. at Wide World of Sports.
“It takes people to fight, and it takes promoters – who are going to put their balls and their money on the line to make sure these fight cards are high quality, and that’s what No Limit did.
“We have these boxers who say it’s a gimmick for me to be involved, but they should come out and support their fights. And to their credit, they did.
“Things are definitely looking up for boxing in Australia and I believe No Limit and I have played our part in that.”
Gallen headlines Wednesday night’s event in Newcastle against Kris Terzievski, with Harry Garside, Sam Goodman and Nikita Tszyu on the undercard.
But Nikita won’t be the first of his own to fight under the Sharks legend.
“Tim Tszyu fought under me early on – he realized that,” Gallen said.
“They embraced him, they’re smart and supported him and look at him now, look at these other guys now.
“Harry is on half the magazines in Sydney right now, he’s everywhere. It’s smart of them to embrace them for what they are and the publicity they get for them. Hats off to all of them. fighters out there today to embrace it and do the best with it.”
Gallen met Garside through the Olympian’s manager, Peter Mitrevski, and Garside’s friend and Commonwealth Games medalist, Jason Whateley, who fought with Gallen last year.
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Mitrevski also introduced him to Goodman, and he befriended Tszyu through boxing.
“I really want to help promote these guys – these guys unfortunately don’t have the platform that I have, so to be able to help them and bring attention to what they can do – that’s my job and that’s what I do,” said Gall.
Garside, whose star is rising from Olympic glory in 2021, said outside interference was only good for boxing.
“People like Gal, the other NRL and AFL boys and people like Jake and Logan Paul, they bring the eyeballs,” he told Wide World of Sports.
“People criticize them but at the same time they bring new people into the sport which is exciting.
“Boxing has kind of lost its way in terms of competing for attention with the UFC, but I feel like it’s rivaling if not surpassing the UFC right now.
“It’s an exciting time for boxing around the world.”
The old adage “if you can see it, you can be it” definitely comes to mind.
“The more people watch sports, the more people get into it. We need young people to watch sports or they’ll never start doing it,” Garside said, adding that he was extremely lucky not to even be nearby. its heyday again, with the way the sport progressed.
“I feel very lucky to be 24 at a time like this,” he said.
“It’s really the golden age of boxing, and it’s an exciting time – I want to keep fighting as much as I can.”
Nikita Tszyu fights the undefeated Mason Smith in the co-main event, in a town that has already embraced both his father and his brother.
Like Garside, he’s part of the new breed – in the right place, at the right time.
“There’s a new set of talent coming in – boxing is back on the map. I wasn’t really a boxing fan back then. [the late 2000s to mid 2010s] so I couldn’t comment on that, but I can see what’s going on now.
“There are still world champions in Australia, there are Olympic medalists and a lot of titles are won.”
And then there’s Sam Goodman – as legit a fighter as you can get, with a fan base as rowdy as any athlete in the country.
A victory for him over Japan’s Fumiya Fuse means a place in the world rankings and title chances in the future. But even he knows what that outside help has meant.
“Guys like Gal, they’ve done huge things for the sport – even with Timmy he helped see that,” he said.
“He’s been in the ring with the who’s who of Australian boxing, you can’t call him a boxer anymore.
“It brings a new focus, new eyes that probably wouldn’t look at boxing. I think there’s a place for that, maybe not all the cards, but when done right it works.
KING OF THE CASTLE FIGHT CARD AND WEIGHT
Wednesday, Newcastle Entertainment Center
Paul Gallen 103.86kg to 102.26kg Kris Terzievski (10 rounds for the Australian and Australasian heavyweight title)
Nikita Tszyu 69.06 kg against 69.48 kg Mason Smith (six rounds at super-welterweight)
Harry Garside 61.04kg vs 61.06kg Layton McFerran (10 rounds for the Australian lightweight title)
Sam Goodman 55.00 kg vs. 55.20 kg Fumiya Fuse (10 rounds for the IBF Intercontinental and WBO Oriental Super Bantamweight titles)
Hassan Hamdan 64.40kg vs 63.82kg Trent Girdham (six rounds at welterweight)
Amber Amelia 58.34kg vs 58.48kg Sara Jalonen (five rounds at featherweight)
Hironiri Mishiro 61.06kg vs. 61.04kg Francis Chua (eight rounds at lightweight)
Linn Sandstrom 51.94kg vs 52.18kg Floryvic Montero (eight rounds for the WBC Australian super flyweight title)
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Here’s who NRL legend Paul Gallen fought during his colorful boxing career