Justis Huni's camp reckon if Paul Gallen wants to be taken seriously as a boxer he should face the Olympics-bound Australian heavyweight champion in February.
The offer was put on the table by Huni and manager Mick Francis in Townsville on Thursday, the day after former NSW State of Origin captain Gallen improved to 10-0-1 with a tough points decision victory over Mark Hunt.
"If he wants to be a fighter, step up and fight Justis Huni, if he's got the balls," Francis said of the potential match-up.
Huni is headlining a Townsville event on February 12 in which Junior Paulo and Josh Papalii will fight alongside a host of current and former rugby league talents in an entree to the NRL's All Stars game a week later.
The 21-year-old Huni won bronze at last year's super heavyweight amateur world championship and made history to win the Australian belt in his professional debut earlier this year.
His next fight will be his third in the professional ranks while he prepares for a medal tilt at next year's Olympics, and he wants Gallen to fill the vacancy.
"I look at is as another stepping stone," Huni said.
"If he wants to fight the best I've got the Australian strap at the moment - if he wants it, I've got it."
Gallen looked destined for defeat after former UFC star Hunt landed several heavy blows in the second round on Wednesday night, but he survived to accumulate a tight but unanimous points win.
After the fight he called out Robert Whittaker - at 29 a current MMA star 17 years Hunt's junior - for a big-money duel the former UFC middleweight champion will reportedly contemplate.
But Huni's representatives hope Gallen takes them up on an offer they think would truly legitimise his post-league pursuit and provide a handsome purse.
"Paul Gallen, if he makes it past the first round I'll give him huge respect," Huni's father and trainer Rocky said.
"We want to keep Justis's development going; everyone knows what Paul brings to the table."
Australian Associated Press