Justis Huni’s father and trainer has praised the rising heavyweight prospect after he overcame a shooting attack on his house to make a triumphant return to the boxing ring in Brisbane on Thursday night.
Huni, the reigning Australian heavyweight champion, had preparations for his bout against Joseph Goodall turned upside down after a gunman fired nine rounds at his family home last Thursday, with five entering the premises. None of the 10 occupants were injured and police are continuing their investigations.
The 23-year-old was able to maintain his focus to record a wide points win (100-90, 98-92, 98-93) over Goodall at Nissan Arena, taking his professional record to 6-0. Later, Rocki Huni said he was deeply proud of his son as the former amateur star won a roughhouse affair to hand Goodall (8-1-1) his first professional defeat.
There were 20 uniformed police on hand at the venue as part of an expanded security presence. A number were stationed outside Huni’s dressing room and more were in plain clothes in the crowd.
“It’s not every day your house gets peppered with bullets. I’m sure it would have, in some way, it would have affected him. He just didn’t show it, he was focused on what he had to do,” Rocki said.
“This kid has been out of the ring for 12 months. That’s crazy. Imagine what his next fight is going to be like. What he did tonight, after what he went through with the shooting, I can’t ask anymore.”
Huni ended up with a pair of cuts, one from a head clash, and spent much of the night counter punching from the ropes as Goodall used his size advantage to shunt him into the corners. But when he got there, he had little to offer and Huni was able to slip punches and pick his spots at will.
“It was tough. We stuck to the game plan and got there in the end. We knew he couldn’t handle my speed and it paid off in the end,” Huni said. “I feel like I’m up there with the best. My time will come.”
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