Paul Gallen says his first-round knockout of Lucas Browne – Australia’s only-ever world heavyweight boxing champion – is a victory for the battlers who dare to dream.
Despite maintaining he is only fighting for money, Gallen announced himself as a heavyweight force to be reckoned with after preserving his unbeaten record with a brutal beat-down of Browne in Wollongong.
Furious about Browne dismissing him as a “footballer”, the retired rugby league great sent “Big Daddy” to the canvas twice inside the first two minutes with a series of devastating blows to the head on Wednesday night.
Browne was given a standing count on the first occasion but could not continue after being laid out a second time.
“I don’t know where exactly I got hit the first sort of shot, but basically I can’t hear out in my left ear,” Browne said. “It just took the equilibrium off me and I couldn’t recover.”
Gallen woke up on Wednesday morning believing he would knock Browne out in the opening round.
“And it happened,” he said. “I came here to fight. I came here to win. I had confidence in my chin against a guy like this. The more I train and the more I spar in the sport of boxing [the better I get].”
But the 39-year-old still insists he harbours no regrets about not starting boxing earlier.
“I did what I set out to achieve in rugby league; I won a premiership, played for my country, played Origin,” Gallen said.
“I always loved boxing all the way along. My trainer Graham said to me, ‘You wait and see how good you can be if you just dedicate yourself to boxing for six months’. Eight to 10 months later now, it’s showing.”
Undefeated in a dozen bouts, Gallen says it is nice to continue defying the doubters with his “have a go” attitude.
“One hundred per cent effort, 100% cent of the time. That’s what I do,” he said. “What I do and teach my kids is always do your best. Whatever you can do, have a crack.
“Over the years I’ve done stupid things like obstacle courses, that show on Nine … Ninja Warrior. I’ll have a crack at anything. Just have a go. People get too scared these days because of social media, things like that and the backlash you get.
“I knew coming here after the build-up, if I lost tonight, imagine turning up to Penrith tomorrow if I got knocked out or had lost. There’s no shame in having a go. The people who ridicule you and have a go at you, they’re cowards who won’t have a go themselves.
“Anyone, get out and have a go. Have a go at what you can and try your best. You won’t succeed and be the best at everything – but just have a crack.”