Eddie Hearn has sung Paul Gallen's praises, saying the ex-rugby league star played a major role in 'helping sports fans emigrate to boxing' in Australia.
He also said the former Cronulla Sharks captain deserves more 'respect' as he's actually taking on 'proper fighters' – unlike some people.
Respected promoter Hearn has announced that Matchroom Sport will be moving Down Under, already signing a number of homegrown fighters ahead of their debut event at Brisbane's Southbank Piazza.
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But Hearn hasn't just arrived on Australian shores for the sake of it, he recognises that the boxing scene in Australia is booming.
And while the nation currently boasts world champions as well as die-hard fans, Hearn admits that there's one man who holds a very unique but important place in the sport's recent resurgence.
"Paul Gallen is not YouTube boxing in my opinion, you’ve got to give him the respect because he’s actually fighting proper heavyweight fighters," Hearn told SPORTbible Australia.
"He’s got spanked a couple of times against good fighters, Justis Huni and those kind of guys – they can fight.
"I think people like Paul Gallen have served a great purpose. When boxing wasn’t as vibrant as it is in Australia now, he was helping sports fans emigrate towards boxing – to learn about it and watch it."
He added: "It’s a bit like YouTube boxing in a sense that it brings a new market and new audience to the sport. When the fans are there, you have to educate and make them fall in love with the sport so they stay. I think what Gallen and those guys did, because it was against real fighters and not just footballers, that actually helped that process quicker. As opposed to a load of people tuning in to watch KSI against some DJ, which when you watch real boxing it’s like a completely different sport."
Australia has played host to some huge title bouts recently, most notably the clash between Devin Haney and George Kambosos Jr, but Hearn has registered his interest in bring more of boxing's pound-for-pound greats Down Under.
"Gallen and those guys will always draw big audiences, I mean, I was trying to do Gallen and Sonny Bill Williams – that’s a big fight for Australia," he added.
"Now I’m looking at the boxing scene and want to be involved in producing champions in Australia. You’ve already got a lot of world champions and fighters on the verge of world titles, so Iet's grow the sport from the amateur set-up to the elite level.
"Let’s bring over Anthony Joshua to fight Dempsey McKean. Let’s bring over Canelo Alvarez to fight Tim Tszyu."
Hearn added: "Recently, I’ve seen Australian boxing really start to flourish. You're now you’re starting to see real fighters emerge and even world champions. Jeff Horn was one of the originals of that new era, but since then you’ve got Tim Tszyu, world No.1 Liam Paro, Ebanie Brisges who is world champion and you’ve got a lot of good young fighters coming through the amateurs – Skye Nicolson, Dempsey McKean, Jai Opetaia.
"I’ve been watching thinking 'wow, there’s a show there nearly every week'. There’s some good promotional companies that know what they’re doing and the broadcasters are starting to cover more boxing. Australia is going to be a really important market for us.
"October the 15th in Brisbane is our kind of flag in the sand to say we’re here. We’ll be looking to do four to six shows a year. Looking to come in peace, initially. But, as you know, I let to upset people and wind them up, but there’s a good bunch of people over there promoting and I’m really excited to get over there and meet new fight fans and show them what Matchroom likes to do.
"It's a good scene and I feel like boxing is going to grow in Australia and I'm looking forward to being a part of that."
Featured Image Credit: Supplied/NRL
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