Boxing: Former league star Justin Hodges wins second professional bout in 23-second mismatch

Former rugby league star Justin Hodges was left with an empty feeling, after he won his second professional boxing bout even quicker than his first.   

Heavyweight Hodges, who took 75 seconds to beat Rob Baron on his debut back in February, needed just 23 to stop unheralded late replacement and New Zealander Troy McMahon in Sydney on Wednesday evening.   

The former Queensland and Kangaroos centre, who weighed in 12 kilos heavier, staggered McMahon with his first punch to the head.

A follow-up combination put McMahon down, prompting veteran referee Gary Dean to stop the fight without issuing a count, generating boos from some of the crowd at The Star.

"I don't care about the crowd, the crowd doesn't bother me," Hodges said. "I've spent 18 years playing the game of rugby league.   

"They are the one booing, but they should get in the ring and have a go themselves.  

"It is gut-wrenching, and an empty feeling, you train hard, and you want to have a good fight.   

"I didn't have any bad feelings towards him. He took the fight at late notice, when a few guys pulled out and he could have been like everyone else too."   

Social media wasn't happy with the early finish, with some calling it an "embarrassment" to Australian boxing.

Hodges, who is an assistant coach to Queensland State of Origin rugby league coach Kevin Walters, said he planned to concentrate on the upcoming series and wasn't likely to fight again until November.   

The highlight of the undercard was a breathtaking all-action 10-round draw for the vacant WBA Oceania welterweight title between Jack Brubaker and Ty Telford.   

Earlier, world-ranked cruiserweight Jai Opetaia improved his unbeaten professional record to 17-0 with 14 KOs, with an eight-round stoppage of tough New Zealander Navosa Ioata.   

Slick southpaw Opetaia, who is rated number eight by the WBO and 11 by the IBF, wore down his opponent, who took a standing count in the seventh.   

Opetaia added the WBA interim cruiserweight title to the IBF and WBO regional titles he already owned.   

Former UFC fighter Ross Pearson made a successful boxing debut at super-middleweight, with a second-round stoppage of Iranian Salar King.

In the main event, Tim Tszyu won his first Australian title with a unanimous-points win over super-welterweight champion Joel Camilleri.   


Boxing: Former league star Justin Hodges wins second professional bout in 23-second mismatch