Justis Huni has again been left justifying his fighting style after being hit with a verbal one-two punch from Joe Goodall ahead of their career-defining heavyweight battle.
The pair, who sparred each other as amateurs before winning medals at the world championships, will put their unblemished professional records on the line at Nissan Arena on Wednesday night.
The winner will enter the top 15 in world rankings and claim the WBO Oriental, IBF Pan-Pacific and WBC Australasian heavyweight belts.
Victory would put them within a handful of fights of a world title with any of those sanctioning bodies, while a loss would send them plummeting out of the frame.
Huni (5-0-0, 4KOs) was the youngest Australian heavyweight champion in more than a century when he won on debut in October 2020, but hasn't fought in almost a year since injuring his hand in a tough defeat of Paul Gallen.
That scuppered his Olympic gold medal bid, while two bouts of COVID-19 and injuries to rivals and others on his card have kept Huni on ice in a year that originally had seven fights scheduled.
While he's been hyped as a world title prospect due to his incredible footwork and ring craft, Huni's power has been questioned.
It again became the focus at Monday's press conference when Goodall was asked if he felt he had a stronger punch.
"I believe so," Goodall said.
"We've sparred many rounds. I won't go into that but there's rumours and I'm not going to say he has a weak chin, but I wouldn't say he's one of the strongest heavyweights either. I'll leave it at that."
Huni said Goodall (8-0-1, KOs) needed to worry about more than one punch.
"People have that one punch power, but they won't be able to keep up with five, six punches," he said.
"You can still do the damage; look at what (undisputed heavyweight champion) Oleksandr Usyk did to Anthony Joshua.
"He doesn't have his power, but it didn't change the outcome."
The lead-up to the fight was ignited when Huni's family home was the subject of a drive-by shooting, but the 23-year-old insisted that hadn't rattled his preparation.
Goodall has refocused after injury and management issues stunted his own transition from the amateur ranks, spending almost a year based in Las Vegas with trainer Kevin Barry to return in career-best shape.
Barry is known for producing fighters willing to do anything to win, and Huni's camp on Monday forecast "dirty" tactics later in the bout.
"It's a little bit harsh," Goodall said of the accusation.
"Both of us with amateur backgrounds, we're world class boxers, we know that, it's obvious.
"It'll be a boxing fight for sure.
"Get your popcorn."
Australian Associated Press
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