Justis Huni heads to America in his bid to challenge for a world title next year
AUSTRALIAN heavyweight sensation Justis Huni is ready to be a global hit and will set up base near Hollywood as part of his plan to challenge for a world title next year.
Huni has touched down in Los Angeles and will spend the next month sparring in America, hoping the Land of Opportunity will edge him closer to living out his own dream — winning a heavyweight world title.
The 23-year-old will take the next step in his boxing journey when the unbeaten Huni (6-0, 4KO) faces heavy-hitting Kiki Leutele (8-1-2, 7KO) at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena on Friday, November 4.
It is expected to be his last domestic fight before he looks to the international stage for a showdown in the New Year with former cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis, who lost his world title to Huni’s stablemate Jai Opetaia in July.
Having dominated the local scene, including belting Olympian Joe Goodall in a 10-round masterclass in June, Huni has shifted gears by ‘Coming to America’ in his bid to one day topple heavyweight kings Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua.
“Justis has gone to Los Angeles to get more quality sparring,” said his promoter Dean Lonergan.
“Justis will have three weeks in LA and then a week in Vegas doing more sparring.
“The reality is Justis simply can’t get any decent sparring here, he is too good for any other Australian heavyweight and a lot of blokes don’t even want to spar him.
“Down the track, he will be spending a lot more time in America honing his craft in his quest for a world title.”
While he has the speed and footwork of a middleweight, the one criticism of Huni is that he lacks the true knockout power to win a world title.
Lonergan says that assessment is rubbish, pointing to the guile of Ukraine superstar Usyk, who has won his last two world-title showdowns against Joshua on points.
“I believe Justis is the quickest, fastest heavyweight on the planet. No big man moves like him,” Lonergan said.
“All this talk about power is garbage.
“Usyk is not the most powerful puncher in the world, he is not knocking people out, but he is the heavyweight champion of the world because of his boxing ability.
“I’ve told Justis to be comfortable with his style. I don’t want him to feel the pressure to knock people out.”
Lonergan believes Leutele will present a solid hit-out for Huni before the Brisbane-born pugilist looks to ramp-up his world-title plans next year by taking on Latvian legend Briedis.
“Kiki will be a good test for Justis. He has never been stopped in his career, so if Justis can stop him, it will be a good result,” he said.
“This is probably his last domestic fight. In all likelihood, Justis will start looking at international opponents after the Leutele fight.
“Our plan is for Justis to be fighting for a world title at the end of next year, so the Briedis fight will be an important stepping stone.
“When Tyson Fury first walked away a few years ago, it opened the door for Joseph Parker to win a world title and I see Justis having a similar opportunity next year if Fury retires for good.”
Originally published as Justis Huni heads to America in his bid to challenge for a world title next year