by Wayne Cousins


Cronulla Sharks Captain Paul Gallen might be climbing into the boxing ring for charity in Auckland on Saturday night but he is well aware of the reception he will receive from the locals.


Fresh from starring in Australia's dominant win over New Zealand in the World Cup final, Gallen faces a different battle in the form of the annual Woodstock Fight for Life charity boxing night at Trusts Arena that sees rugby union stars take on their league opponents.


"I don't know how they are going to treat me over there now after we gave the Kiwis a hiding,'' Gallen said.


"And I'm fighting one of the All Blacks hardmen in Liam Messam. It will be interesting and a lot of fun too."


Gallen will be hoping to make it two wins from two attempts in the ring after beating former All Black Hika Elliott last year in the Fight for Life.

A keen boxing fan, Gallen is also interested in pursuing the sport further should he be victorious over Messam.


"It was bloody hard last year, really taxing fitness wise. I'm a lot more fitter going into it this year,' Gallen said after doing some light training at the Tszyu Academy at St George PCYC this morning under trainer Mark Gambin.


"Liam is a lot taller than me and he is big and strong. The thing I love most about boxing is the chance to get into the ring and to test yourself one on one and hopefully come out with a win,'' Gallen added.


Messam was under no illusion as to Gallen's power.


"He's a beast. He's like a big ball of steel in the middle of the ring. I just have to figure out a way to make him crumble. But it's going to be tough. I'd rather take a hit in rugby that one from Paul Gallen,'' Messam said.


The Fight for Life fights have become an iconic event across the Tasman.


Australians to take part in previous events include the likes of Mal Meninga, Trevor Gillmeister, Mark Geyer and Mark Carroll.


The charity bouts - which are supporting KidsCan in New Zealand will be followed by the headline bout between New Zealand heavyweight Shane Cameron and American Brian Minto.



NOTE: Sharkies Leagues Club will be showing the Fight for Life event live from 5.00pm Saturday night.



Photograph - Renee McKay