Former UFC Heavyweight Mark Hunt Loses Boxing Match to Ex-Rugby Star

Mark Hunt, among the bonus winners at UFC Auckland
Mark Hunt Credit: Taro Irei/

Former UFC and PRIDE heavyweight Mark Hunt finally returned to the combat sports world on Wednesday — but it wasn’t inside the cage, or under MMA rules. Instead, Hunt featured in the co-main event of the Australian PPV boxing card known as the Sydney Super Fight. Taking on former Rugby player Paul Gallen, it was Hunt’s first foray into any kind of professional unarmed combat since he fought out his UFC contract in 2018.

Hunt, 46, was making his pro boxing return against Gallen, the younger fighter by more than half a decade at 39-years old. The pair had come to blows a day earlier at weigh-in, and skipped the final press conference to promote the event — which, with a main event of Tim Tszyu vs. Bowyn Morgan, had been billed as one of the largest PPV events in Australian history.

Gallen reportedly nearly derailed the bout just hours before it was planned to commence, losing his medical paperwork and spending a solid two hours in search of it, according to multiple reports. Luckily, the necessary papers were eventually located.

The fight itself saw Hunt cut Gallen in the opening round, then rock him in the second. Multiple left hooks hit home for “The Super Samoan” in the round, but Gallen would survive, and perhaps prove something by turning things around in the third, outworking Hunt. By round four, Hunt was breathing heavy, but still managed to catch Gallen with some big shots, primarily a right hand. Gallen was wobbled again in the fourth, but pushed on and managed to trap Hunt against the ropes in round five. And yet again, Hunt’s power was there, as he rocked Gallen with another right. In the end, the pair would go the distance in the six-round fight. Gallen took the worse of the big shots, but was the fresher fighter in the end, and the more active fighter in the later rounds. Which helped him win the fight on the scorecards.

The loss sends Hunt to 0-2-1 as a professional boxer, though Wednesday marked his first boxing match in over 20 years. Gallen, meanwhile, improves to 10-0-1.

Official Result: Paul Gallen def. Mark Hunt by unanimous decision (58-56, 58-56, 59-55)