Wellington professional boxer Joel Galea has become the pride of his town after a narrow victory over Sydney’s Justin Kallu at the Civic Centre in Wellington.
Galea, who weighed in heavier than his opponent, came out strongly in the opening round but was matched by the Newtown-based fighter who threw low body punches to the local’s ribs driving him back on his feet.
Kallu emerged powerfully again in the second round and for a while appeared on top, but the Wellington fighter also landed point-scoring shots which made it difficult for the Sydney boxer to secure any great advantage.
In the third, Kallu again forced Galea to work hard, but it was a dramatic fourth round in which the bout turned.
Galea, realising he was trailing, stormed into ring with some vigorous blows but slipped to the canvas twice during an exhausting melee.
The crowd, now firmly behind their local star, were rousing in their support and eventually the fight finished with most ringside undecided about the result.
The judges scored the fight 39-38, 38 all, 39-37 Galea to the large roar of the the capacity crowd.
“I dug deep in that last round and I had to come back because I thought I might have been behind’’ Galea said.
Kallu, who many considered a surprise packet, was gracious in defeat, “Full credit to Joel. He came back hard in the last round’’ he said.
Earlier Wellington’s James ‘Jim bob’ Fleming came out to defend his super middle weight title but Nyngan’s Todd Milligan ensured this was going to be a tough showdown.
Milligan delivered a serious of powerful jabs to head and body, rushing his opponent which in the end was the difference between the pair.
Nyngan’s fighters secured three out of four wins on the night.
Dubbo’s ‘Sugar’ Shane Konz was also victorious against Wellington’s Wade Hydnley in what was described as a super heavyweight encounter. Konz kissed his child before the bout and then entered a hostile ring with his opponent supported ferociously but outlasted Hydnley to win in three, while Luke O’Connor staged a hard fought win over Nyngan’s Regan Branson who was outclassed.