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UFC, kickboxing veteran Mark Hunt could box Paul Gallen in October

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Hunt’s UFC contract expired in 2018

UFC Fight Night: Weigh-ins Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

While Joseph Parker and Junior Fa continue to struggle with putting together their all-Kiwi showdown, another New Zealand standout could make his return to the ring late this year, as UFC and K-1 legend Mark Hunt is reportedly working on an October clash with Australian rugby veteran Paul Gallen. According to the latter, negotiations are “back on” after their initial 2019 offer fell through.

“So it’s looking promising, it’s looking like it’s going to happen.

“October 31st is the date that has been set. The venue I’m not sure of yet. It could be NSW somewhere, hopefully Queensland, possibly even New Zealand.”

MMA Fighting confirmed the news and reported that the fight could land in Auckland.

The 46-year-old Hunt (0-1-1, 0 KO in boxing) remains one of the most storied combat athletes to come out of Oceania, boasting an impressive kickboxing record and an incredible late-career surge in the UFC that saw him challenge for a title and score a number of stunning knockouts. Despite his wealth of experience, however, he’s unquestionably on the decline; his once indestructible chin failed him more and more often as his career progressed and his speed and cardio both appeared significantly degraded.

Is that enough to make Gallen (9-0-1, 5 KO) a threat? Hard to say; the Aussie is six years younger and has a couple of okay wins in the ring, but has largely faced limited opposition, including football veteran Barry Hall last November.

Definitely not the worst as far as freakshow fights go, and it’s a damn sight better than the Gallen-Tyson matchup Paul Amatruda proposed earlier this year.