Former Maroons stars Justin Hodges and Ben Hannant will face off in the ring in a bid to set up a mega Origin style bout with Blues legend Paul Gallen.
Hodges and Hannant will face off in the ring at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Center on Wednesday, June 29 — three days after Origin II.
Hannant revealed the fight was sold to him as a stepping stone to a shot in the ring with Gallen.
“There is nowhere to hide come June 29,” Hannant said.
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“Hodgo played in the outside backs, so he got to do the pretty stuff scoring tries and nice runs.
“But let’s see what he does when people are right in front of him constantly putting pressure on him.
“I am going to put him to sleep.
“He is a boxer. He wants to be a boxer. I haven’t lied about it. He wants to take on Paul Gallen.
“The winner of this fight supposedly is going to have an Origin duel between Hodgo and Gallen or myself and Gallen.
“That’s what got sold to me four weeks ago so at the end of the day he has got everything to lose.
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“He has got nothing to gain and everything to lose.
“In two weeks time after I knock him out let’s see what I do with six 12 months under my belt if Paul Gallen wants to have a fight.”
Hannant revealed he has been training around the clock to get in the best possible shape after only being given short notice to take the fight with Hodges.
“The challenge,” Hannant said when asked why he accepted the fight.
“One thing I missed from retiring from footy was that challenge of pushing yourself to the limit and trying to be the best version of yourself.
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“The one thing I miss about rugby league is pushing yourself every day to reach your true potential and this is another great opportunity.
“I think it was smart Hodgo only giving me four weeks notice. I was 116kg only eating pizzas, running around after my kids and doing my job.
“I was a fat mess to put it lightly. In the space of two weeks I have dropped eight kilos and while Hodgo is sleeping I am up working. I will be in the gym at 3:30 in the morning.
“I have played with him for seven years. He is a Ferrari. He is an athlete. He is powerful. He is skilful.
“He may be a Ferrari but we are in a sport where we get banged up and I am happy to be a 200 series Land Crusier.”
Hodges revealed he will likely withdraw either after the Hannant fight if he loses or the Gallen fight when he wins.
“He almost put me to sleep,” Hodges said of Hannant’s press conference.
“I was getting tired watching it.
“He ain’t going to put shit to sleep.
“For me it is either going to be my second last fight or my last fight.
“I’ve trained just as hard. A lot of people don’t realize that I do work hard. I used to box away from the rugby league field. A lot of people don’t know that but I just didn’t want to put it out there.
“I have been working just as hard as him. I don’t have to get up at 3.30 to do that work.”