Justis Huni is forced to postpone his U.S. debut.
The unbeaten Australian heavyweight suffered torn ligaments after rolling his ankle during a weekend sparring session, which killed plans for his scheduled ten-round contest versus former title challenger Andrew Tabiti. Their heavyweight clash was due to land on the June 17 DAZN show at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, The bout would have marked Huni’s first fight in the U.S. and under the Matchroom Boxing banner.
“I’m just devastated that this has happened so close to the fight,” Huni told Australia-based publication Courier-Mail, who was the first to break the news. “I was packed and ready to go, I was a day away from flying out and now this has happened.
“I’m absolutely gutted.”
Brisbane’s Huni (7-0, 5KOs) revealed that the injury occurred Saturday while sparring with countryman and past opponent Joseph Goodall (9-1-1, 8KOs). Huni outpointed Goodall over ten rounds last June 15 at Nissan Arena in Nathan, Australia. The same venue hosted his most recent start, a ten-round decision victory over Kiki Toa Luetele last November 4.
All seven career bouts to date for Huni have taken place on home soil. It is not immediately known if he will stick with plans to fight in the U.S. once he is fully healed.
The rest of the June 17 show will move forward in present form, save for Tabiit’s status as the former title challenger is left without an opponent. Headlining the event, WBC junior welterweight titlist Regis Prograis (28-1, 24KOs) defends the belt in his childhood hometown versus Puerto Rico’s Danielito Zorrilla (17-1, 13KOs).
Prograis will fight in Louisiana for the first time since his previous title win, a sixth-round knockout of Kiryl Relikh to win the WBA junior welterweight title in their April 2019 World Boxing Super Series semifinal from the Cajun Dome in Lafayette, Louisiana. He lost the belt to Scotland’s Josh Taylor in the WBSS finale later that October and has since won four straight including an eleventh-round knockout of Jose Zepeda last November 26 to claim the WBC title.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox