Justis Huni to meet Kiki Leutele in heavyweight battle

Australian heavyweight champion Justis Huni has worked on his power is his lengthy absence from the ring.

Australian heavyweight champion Justis Huni has promised to pack a punch in his long-awaited return to the ring in May, but he’s not obsessed with winning by knockout.

Without a fight since his TKO 10th-round win over Paul Gallen in June last year, Huni will put his undefeated professional record on the line at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on May 11 against New Zealand’s Kiki Leutele.

The winner will climb into the top 15 of the IBF’s world heavyweight rankings, which will lead to potential world title shots.

However, Queenslander Huni isn’t thinking that far ahead. He just wants to start fighting again after a frustrating period that included missing out on the Tokyo Olympics with a hand injury, an elbow problem and two bouts of Covid-19.

Huni – who has had five professional bouts for five wins – said the silver lining was that the setbacks and extended period out of the ring had made him stronger in dealing with adversity.

“Mentally I’m in a very good place at the moment,” he said.

“That time off has refreshed me, and I’m just looking forward to getting back in the ring.”

In between his injury and illness woes, Huni spent time at a US training camp with renowned boxing trainer Justin Fortune.

It was there that questions were raised about his power and his ability to knock opponents out, often a way that heavyweights raise their worldwide profile.

“Everyone’s talking about power. I’ve got power man, it’s just these guys I’ve come up against, they’ve got good chins,” Huni said.

“The one-punch KO, I’ve been working on with Justin. He hates the amateur style, he’s more of a ‘sit-down, knock these guys out’ guy.

“But I’ve learnt my whole life to box. So if that KO comes, it comes, but I’m not going to chase it because it drains me.”

The Huni-Leutele bout will be on the undercard to the IBF cruiserweight world title fight between Jai Opetaia and Mairis Briedis.

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