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Sio Siua Taukeiaho makes boxing debut on Paul Gallen vs Justin Hodges undercard, NRL Roosters star, EXCLUSIVE

Departing NRL premiership powerhouse Sio Siua Taukeiaho will make his boxing debut next week on the undercard of Paul Gallen and Justin Hodges.

Taukeiaho confirmed to Wide World of Sports he has made it back from England in time to get medical clearance and enter the ring in Sydney on Wednesday night.

No Limit Boxing is yet to confirm an opponent for the former Roosters prop, but an announcement is expected in the coming days.

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Taukeiaho, 30, has been in the UK representing Tonga at the Rugby League World Cup. If his nation had made the Cup final and played this Sunday (AEDT), he almost certainly would have watched his boxing dream go sailing by.

Promoters were still unsure if he would make it back to Australia in time to pull the gloves on.

“It’s been a pretty crazy 48 hours to be honest,” Taukeiaho told Wide World of Sports.

“I was obviously disappointed we (Tonga) didn’t go further in the World Cup but it’s obviously now a blessing in disguise.

“I touched down (in Australia) from the UK and had to rush straight to the doctor to get my medicals and bloods done. They were telling me if I didn’t get them done by midday (Thursday) then all the effort to rush home and extra training would’ve been wasted, but I’m thankful it’s over now.

“I still haven’t been exactly told who I’m fighting but I believe it’s someone with NRL experience. It doesn’t really matter to me though, I’m just excited to get in there and give it a crack.”

Taukeiaho played 167 NRL games for the Roosters, winning two premierships with the Tricolours. He will now head to the Super League to play for Catalans.

While he has no professional boxing experience to speak of, No Limit has had a hard time trying to find an opponent willing to step into the ring with the 100kg Tongan wrecking ball.

“It’s pretty rare for us to be in a position with a big platform on Main Event and not be able to match someone on debut, so clearly boxing types have done their research on him,” No Limit Boxing boss George Rose said earlier in the week.

Gallen, who will retire from boxing after his rematch with Hodges on Wednesday, named Taukeiaho as the most likely former NRL star to take his place as the a big-money fight attraction.

Gallen has earned millions from his 17 bouts – of which he has won 14 and drawn one – and Taukeiaho realises the potential in a career inside the ring.

“Gal has shown us footy boys that there are opportunities out there in the fight game if you’re willing to do the hard work, but I’ve also got to back it up,” he said.

“I’m confident, excited and I look forward to putting on a show on Wednesday night.”

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