Origin Rumble Paul Gallen vs. Ben Hannant & Justin Hodges Nissan Arena Brisbane

Paul Gallen followed up his win over Ben Hannant by beating ex-Queensland State of Origin star Justin Hodges in a nasty, wild fight that prompted Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech to say the referee had lost all control of the fight.

The Cronulla Sharks legend was hammered early in the first round and knocked down by a strong right hand 45 seconds into the second stanza, but came back strong for the referee to save Hodges from being knocked out in the third.

Gallen knocked Hodges out with an illegal right after using his left hand to bend him over the top ropes in the second round, with the ref telling the ex-Broncos star to ‘get up’ as he remained on one knee, complaining about the punch.

Fenech said if Hodges had stayed down he could have won by disqualification.

Gallen used his left to tuck Hodges onto the ropes before pinning him with an illegal right hand in round two – with Jeff Fenech saying the Queenslander could have won on a disqualification had he stayed down

Hodges came out all guns blazing, connecting with heavy punches shortly after the first bell sounded – and knocked Gallen down with a right hand 45 seconds into the second round

Hodges came out all guns blazing, connecting with heavy punches shortly after the first bell sounded – and knocked Gallen down with a right hand 45 seconds into the second round

Then, five seconds into the third round, there was a long delay that infuriated the referee as Hodges’ corner took forever to attach loose tape to one of his gloves and Fenech said: “The referee has lost control of this fight.”

The end came late in the third, when Gallen nailed the Queenslander with two wild right hands punctuated by a stiff jab and the referee dove to save him from further punishment as he looked set to go face down earth.

However, Hodges later called the stoppage “bulls**t” and demanded a rematch.

“I know the referee has a job to do, but there was no way in the world I was hurt,” he insisted.

While Gallen has said he wants to retire, he has one fight left on his contract and said he would step into the ring again with Hodges provided the clash takes place in Sydney in six rounds of three. minutes.

Gallen’s victory came about an hour after earning a unanimous points decision over former Queensland and Kangaroos rower Ben Hannant, which surprised fans and pundits alike by going the distance and clipping his opponent.

Gallen was expected to knock out Hannant, who was in only his second professional fight as the duo faced off at the Nissan Arena in Brisbane on Thursday night.

But the ex-Old Queenslander caught Gallen with some decent shots and managed to open a last-round cut that looked like it could give the Cronulla Sharks legend problems against Hodges.

Hannant (right) was supposed to be cannon fodder for the much more experienced Gallen, but he shocked fight fans by going the distance – and doing some damage.

Gallen landed the heaviest and sharpest punches but couldn't knock the ex-Queensland star down, let alone knock him out

Gallen landed the heaviest and sharpest punches but couldn’t knock the ex-Queensland star down, let alone knock him out

The judges were unanimous, with two giving Gallen each of the four two-minute rounds on their scorecards and the third scoring 40-37.

‘I said from day one that Ben Hannant is the toughest guy [of him and Hodges]a former Australian rower, I played at the highest level with him… he fought really well,” Gallen said right after the fight.

Asked about the cut on his cheek, which started swelling after the fight but didn’t look deep, he replied: “I was fine, didn’t nick anything.”

Hannant received a round of applause for his tough and surprisingly effective display.

He landed the first hard punch of the fight shortly after the first round, caught Gallen with his jab and showed great durability when hit flush with big right hands.

“I’m honored to be in the ring and to have a chance in front of my kids, my family,” he said, before telling the crowd that he injured himself playing soccer a month ago. before the fight and that he shouldn’t have fought at all. .

“I’m a front rower, we’re not smart,” he joked after calling Gallen an “absolute awesome dude.”

“I’m not a fighter, everyone knows that… It’s a special moment for me, I’m still a winner.”

Gallen was unsure which of the two Queenslanders he would fight until Hannant came out of the locker room and walked to the ring.

Hannant gave it his all and almost looked on his feet in the fourth and final lap, but rallied to deny his highly valued opponent a stoppage victory.

Hannant gave it his all and almost looked on his feet in the fourth and final lap, but rallied to deny his highly valued opponent a stoppage victory.

Gallen left the ring with a cut under his left eye - and while it doesn't look deep, it could prove to be a problem if Hodges can land his right hand

Gallen left the ring with a cut under his left eye – and while it doesn’t look deep, it could prove to be a problem if Hodges can land his right hand

Under the unique rules for the night, he had to take a break for at least an hour before fighting Hodges, who was fresh and eager to leave.

The former NSW Origin captain said the break was his biggest worry ahead of the double header.

“A guy who’s aging a bit like me in age, I’m worried about quitting,” he said.

“After a fight, you don’t understand the euphoria and the relief that it’s all over. Having to get up, that’s what worried me.

Like the fight against Hannant, his matchup with Hodges was scheduled for four two-minute rounds.

Two of the three judges had Gallen winning in each round, while the other scored it 40-37 for him in a unanimous points decision.

Two of the three judges had Gallen winning in each round, while the other scored it 40-37 for him in a unanimous points decision.

He and Gallen clashed physically at the weigh-in on Wednesday, when Hodges grabbed his opponent by the throat.

When Gallen told him to hug his kids in case he never sees them again at Tuesday’s press conference, Hodges stormed off the stage and left.

Hodges looked like the more dangerous of the two opponents for Gallen, having fought six times and lost once – which pales in comparison to the ex-Shark’s 14 wins and two losses as he fought quality opposition like Justis Huni, Mark Hunt and the former world heavyweight. champ Lucas Browne.

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