NRL convert Anthony Mundine believes Tevita Pangai Junior can emulate his successful transition to the boxing ring if he can overcome one major weakness

NRL convert Anthony Mundine believes Tevita Pangai Junior can emulate his successful transition to the boxing ring if he can overcome one major weakness

  • Anthony Mundine adamant Tevita Pangai Junior can make it as a boxer
  • Pangai Junior has walked away from the NRL aged just 27
  • Will fight on October 7 ‘Battle of the Reef’ undercard in Townsville
  • NRL stars Junior Paulo and Nelson Asofa-Solomona also to enter the ring 

Former NRL star turned world boxing champion Anthony Mundine is confident Tevita Pangai Junior can carve out a successful career in the ring – provided he overcomes one significant obstacle.

Speaking ahead of the Battle of The Reef fight night card in Townsville on October 7 – where the Bulldogs enforcer will fight a yet to be named opponent – Mundine stated Pangai will need to hit the ground running as he lacks an amateur pedigree.

Other fighters on the card include fellow footy stars Junior Paulo (Eels), Jason Taumalolo (Cowboys), Nelson Asofa-Solomona (Storm) as well as retired greats Justin Hodges and Matt Cooper, who will square off against one another.

‘He has passion for the sport, just like I did when I left the NRL in 2000,’ Mundine said from the Bondi Boxing Club in Waterloo.

‘I have nothing but support for him… my advice to Tevita is to be dedicated, disciplined and be prepared to make sacrifices.

Anthony Mundine (pictured left) is confident Tevita Pangai Junior can carve out a successful career in the ring – provided he can overcome one significant obstacle

Pangai is unbeaten in his two previous bouts, but doesn't have a detailed amateur pedigree

Pangai is unbeaten in his two previous bouts, but doesn’t have a detailed amateur pedigree

‘He needs to avoid women, [drinking] alcohol and dream big.

Watch all the action from the Battle Of the Reef live and exclusive on Stan Pay-Per-View.

‘Achieving in an individual sport isn’t easy, you need to be a gladiator. ‘He is a gentle giant, it is up to Tevita to find his killer instinct.’

Pangai Junior has walked away from a $750,000 contract at Belmore, which Mundine felt was admirable.

After labelling himself the ‘best athlete of all time’, the retired orthodox fighter stressed Pangai Junior fighting in the heavyweight division could be challenging.

‘One shot can be crucial,’ he said. ‘It is why Tevita must learn on the job – and quickly.’

Pangai, 27, isn’t a novice with the gloves, enjoying a 2-0 record in the ring.

He beat Gerico Cecil by technical knockout in December of 2021 and then knocked out Jerry Tupai last December.

Mundine quit the NRL in 2000, and despite his many detractors, enjoyed a decorated boxing career

Mundine quit the NRL in 2000, and despite his many detractors, enjoyed a decorated boxing career 

Mundine's bouts against the likes of Jeff Horn (left) and Danny Green attracted huge viewership across Australia

Mundine’s bouts against the likes of Jeff Horn (left) and Danny Green attracted huge viewership across Australia

A Newcastle Knights and Canberra Raiders junior, Pangai made his NRL debut in 2016 with the Broncos, and also had stints with the Panthers (2021) and Bulldogs (2022-2023).

Canterbury football boss Phil Gould said the club was fully supportive of Pangai choosing a new sporting path.

‘He’s not the first player to lose passion for the sport,’ he said on Channel Nine’s 100% Footy.

‘There are a lot of players that play this game because they are good at it….but [sometimes] you question whether or not it is really the thing they like to do.’

World title prospect Paulo Aokuso (5-0, 3KO) will headline the evening in Townsville.

Watch all the action from the Battle Of the Reef live and exclusive on Stan Pay-Per-View.

 

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