Huni to debut Mike Tyson method in Brisbane homecoming

Murray Wenzel |

Justis Huni will adopt Mike Tyson’s aggressive style when he takes on compatriot Troy Pilcher.
Justis Huni will adopt Mike Tyson’s aggressive style when he takes on compatriot Troy Pilcher.

Justis Huni will channel vintage Mike Tyson when he attempts to reinvent himself in his Australian boxing return.

The unbeaten Brisbane heavyweight (9-0) will fight compatriot Troy Pilcher (9-0-1) at the Fortitude Music Hall on July 25.

It’s Huni’s first fight on home soil in nearly two years and just his fifth since aggravating a hand injury in defeating Paul Gallen that robbed him of an Olympic berth in 2021.

Huni has carried lofty expectations since winning bronze at the 2016 world amateur championships, relying on fast feet and quick hands to subtly dismantle opponents.

Long resisting calls to become more aggressive and chase knockouts, the 25-year-old has relented and says fans will see a different boxer in the Pilcher fight.

He said a desire to avoid 10 or 12-round battles, fight more often and boost his profile had led to the decision.

“Like everyone says, you don’t get paid overtime in this sport,” he told AAP.

Huni said he learnt plenty after escaping a final-round flurry to beat South African veteran Kevin Lerena in Saudi Arabia five months ago.

“I have changed my style up since then; I don’t want to be boxing on the back foot anymore,” he said. 

“I want to start knocking guys out.

“That’s the best way to put bums on seats.”

Huni is ranked by the WBO and IBF but knows he needs to rack up more ring time to mount a serious world title challenge.

“Two fights in two years … people forget about you as soon as you go missing for a couple of months,” he said.

“They’re on to the next big thing that’s staying busy, so I want to get back on that train.”

Huni has long used undisputed heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk as an example of technique defeating power.

But he will be channelling a different champion later this month.

“It’s more like a Mike Tyson-style. More aggressive, no more sitting back. Now I get what I want,” he said of his goal to mirror the former undisputed heavyweight weapon.

“It is dangerous, but I’ve done a lot of work on my defence.”

Huni was more aggressive in his last Australian appearance against Kiki Leutele, but was hurt badly despite escaping with a points victory.

He has dropped US-based coach Justin Fortune since with father Rocki again his sole head coach.

“He’s taking on the world so he needs to be famous in his home country,” manager Mick Francis told AAP.

“We want to see Justis start putting some fighters to sleep.

“I can’t wait to see it; the coaches have said it’s special. 

“You get a lot of people blowing smoke up your arse, but he knows it’s real now and needs to knuckle down and work his arse off.

“But he’s so grounded’ he’s the type of guy, if you’re going away for the weekend and asked him to pop over and mow the lawn, he’d do it.”