Justis prevails, but doubts still remain over our heavyweight hope

He may have won over Jeff Fenech but Justis Huni knows his critics will remain after accounting for Joe Goodall in his heavyweight boxing return.

Jun 16, 2022, updated Jun 16, 2022
Justis Huni (right) celebrates winning against Joe Goodall for the WBO Oriental and IBF Pan-Pacific titles at Nissan Arena in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Justis Huni (right) celebrates winning against Joe Goodall for the WBO Oriental and IBF Pan-Pacific titles at Nissan Arena in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Darren England)

The 23-year-old had to wait almost exactly a year since beating Paul Gallen to improve his record to 6-0 at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena on Wednesday.

Huni picked apart his 29-year-old rival, a former sparring partner who like him medalled at the amateur world championships before turning professional.

But for all his speed, precision and smarts, it was Huni’s power – or lack of it – that meant many pundits weren’t confident he could handle the rejuvenated Goodall.

And despite Huni’s clear victory – he won an unanimous points decision 100-90, 98-92, 98-93 – the fighter knows the knock will remain after Goodall finished on his feet.

“About the power? Not really,” he said when asked if he’s silenced some critics.

“But I’m still here and got my ‘0’ (zero losses) so I’m happy.”

Huni landed an incredible 194 punches in 10 two-and-a-half minute rounds to close up Goodall’s left eye.

“If the right punch lands then it’ll come. But I’ve been in the game for a long time, I’m not going out there to look for it,” he said.

“I learnt that in my first couple of fights.”

A world title-winner in three divisions, Fenech poked the bear earlier in the week when he questioned Huni’s power.

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But he was blown away by the craft of the 110kg monster he said was throwing combinations usually reserved for the divisions far below Huni’s.

Labelling it a “masterclass”, he said the deconstruction of Goodall displayed “skills far superior to any heavyweight I’ve seen in a long, long time”.

Victory came after a 12-month spell forced by injury and illness and landed Huni the WBO Oriental, IBF Pan-Pacific and WBC Australasian heavyweight belts.

Importantly it also granted him top-15 rankings in those three sanctioning bodies, placing him in the conversation for a world title fight.

But, even with Anthony Joshua’s high-profile English boxing promoter Eddie Hearn in the stands, Huni’s team won’t rush to send him overseas.

It’s expected his promoter Dean Lonergan will line up two more fights in Australia this year and potentially keep him on home shores in 2023 to solidify his base.

Possible opponents include current Australian champion Kris Terzievski, who beat Gallen to win the belt Huni vacated during his 12-month absence from the ring, and New Zealand’s Kiki Leutele, who Huni was initially set to fight in May.

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