After impressing in two charity bouts in recent years Sharks skipper Paul Gallen is set to enter the professional boxing arena when he fights on the Daniel Geale versus Garth Wood under card at the Hordern Pavilion next month.
In taking the next step in a sport which he has previously used to get in shape for his rugby league career, Gallen will climb into the ring against young Queenslander Herman ‘the Herminator’ Ene-Purcell on February 19 in marking his pro boxing debut.
While he has been spotted in the gym and out on the training paddock in recent weeks, Gallen is still officially on leave from Sharks training after being granted an extended break following World Cup duties, however he is due to be back on deck at the Sharks on Monday.
Working the two pursuits in together, Gallen while committed to performing well on February 19, will also use the boxing training to have him in peak fitness for the start of the season proper.
Gallen will also play a part in the Auckland Nines on February 15-16 and has assured Sharks fans the fight won’t impact on his ability to start the 2014 season with all guns blazing.
“It’s only going to benefit my rugby league, it’s going to make me a whole lot fitter,” Gallen said of his boxing training and upcoming bout. “The 20th (of January) is my first official day back so I’m not going to get a long pre-season like a lot of the other guys.
“But I’ve done the pre-season footy drills for 20 years now so concentrating on fitness is going to be good for me. It will keep me mentally fresh for the whole season.
“Then once (the fight) is over, I’ll be 100 per cent focused on footy for the rest of the year.”
Similarly, rather than being concerned about his captains welfare, interim coach Peter Sharp believes the boxing training could see his star forward strip even fitter for the season kickoff than he has in recent years.
“Gal is a professional who knows how to get his body right to play and if he thought boxing was going to impact on his season he wouldn’t be doing it,” Sharp said. “The boxing training will keep him off his legs for a little longer while keeping him fit at the same time which can only be a good thing.
“He’s back in full time training with us from Monday and I’ve got no doubt he’ll be ready to go come round one.”
As for the scheduled fight on February 19, rather than charting the well-traveled path for footballers in taking on physically inferior opposition, Gallen and his advisors have accepted a fight with a well credentialed opponent.
The heavyweight clash against Purcell will be a four rounder and is the main support bout to the Geale-Woods match-up.
“We had a few options to choose guys we thought I could beat pretty easily but we didn’t want to fight just anyone, we wanted to fight someone with some credibility. The fight is going to be a challenge, but I’m looking forward to it,” Gallen told Sharks TV.
Tickets to the fight night will be available from Ticketek, while the event will also be shown live at Sharkies and on pay per view through Main Event on the Foxtel network. Stay tuned to the Sharks and Sharkies Leagues Club website for more details.
After announcing his upcoming bout Gallen spoke to Sharks TV, with the interview now playing.