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Ex-NRL Brisbane Broncos star Ben Hannant makes weigh-in ahead of boxing bout with Justin Hodges

Ben Hannant managed to weigh in with just seconds left for Wednesday night’s boxing fight with former teammate Justin Hodges, and had a simple reason why: ‘I’ve been busy’.

Hannant, whose surprise no-show at Monday’s press conference was criticized by Hodges, makes his professional debut in the heavyweight bout at the Brisbane Convention Centre, weighing in at 107.66kg.

His former Broncos and Queensland team-mate Justin Hodges, who has a professional record of 3-1-0, looks great and weighed 104.1kg.

A potentially blockbuster fight with another former NRL hardman, Paul Gallen, awaits the winner of the bout, who is on the undercard of Liam Wilson and Matias Rueda’s super featherweight title fight.

Ben Hannant (left) and Justin Hodges (right) take on the boxing match

Ben Hannant (left) and Justin Hodges (right) take on the boxing match

Hannant’s arrival at the weigh-in with just 30 seconds to go was welcomed by his former Broncos and Queensland team-mate Hodges, who said he had worked “extremely hard” for the fight.

‘It’s good to see the Great Omelette’ [Hannant] arrived. I’m looking forward to tomorrow night, this is the best I’ve trained and I’m looking for a knockout,” Hodges said.

“This could possibly be my last or I could take another after this. Only one person stands in the way of my dream and normally, if someone stands in the way, I would like to get rid of it. Benny’s in my way . . . so I have to get that big guy out.”

Justin Hodges (right) will take on former NRL player Nathan Ross at the end of 2021

Justin Hodges (right) will take on former NRL player Nathan Ross at the end of 2021

In Hodges’ three-bout professional boxing career; he knocked out a former furniture mover, Rob Baron, in just 75 seconds of his debut, before knocking out New Zealander Troy McMahon in 20 seconds.

He had to hand in his first loss when he took on former NRL prop Darcy Lussick in December 2019.

Hodges also won by majority in a ‘Footy Fight Night’ match against former NRL winger Nathan Ross.

Ben Hannant will make his professional boxing debut on Wednesday evening

Ben Hannant will make his professional boxing debut on Wednesday evening

Hannant was a little more stunned about the fight, preferring to focus on the fact that there is a lot going on behind the scenes as to why he was absent from the press conference and late at the weigh-in.

However, it is clear that he is ready to put on a show.

‘I’ve been busy. Obviously I have a life, I have eight kids to take care of plus my breakfast radio show, so I’m not a full-time athlete anymore. I’m just like the regular people who come to watch,” Hannant said at the weigh-in.

‘I’m coming to put on a show tomorrow night. I expect to entertain. I think there will be some big shots thrown from both and I think one of us will have an early night

Ben Hannant and wife Emma with their eight children

Ben Hannant and wife Emma with their eight children

In addition to a full-time radio breakfast job, Hannant has eight children with wife Emma: Ky, Ella, Brax, Mia, Ava, Channing, Koa and Pippa.

The snow-haired gag played 245 NRL games before retiring in 2016, in addition to 12 State of Origin games for Queensland.

The proud Maroon said Sunday’s Origin clash was the reason he was absent from Monday’s pre-fight press conference.

“I was still in Perth, I flew back,” Hannant said Fox Sports

“I’m a proud Queenslander, I was there to support my team and my state, it was just one of the things I couldn’t be back in time. I thought Justin would also be there to support Queensland, but I think he’s really focused on the fight.”

Former Broncos and Queensland teammates Justin Hodges (left) and Ben Hannant (right)

Former Broncos and Queensland teammates Justin Hodges (left) and Ben Hannant (right)

Hodges told media at the pre-fight press conference if Hannant “doesn’t show up, I’ll have to drive over there and thrash him outside the ring,” while promoter George Rose also disapproved of the no-show.

“Ben Hannant didn’t show up today and it’s strange because he hammered me live on the radio during the week. He wanted knockout bonuses and all that stuff and he doesn’t even show up to the press conference,” Rose said.

Hannant and Hodges will compete in a blockbuster hit on Wednesday night

Hannant and Hodges will compete in a blockbuster hit on Wednesday night

Hannant, for his part, is going to have a good time, but probably not for long.

‘I don’t think it will go that far. It’s going to be hard, it’s going to be intense, but I’m going to knock him out,” he said.

“We’re not here to show off our boxing skills. I’m not a boxer, but I’m a competitor and so is Justin. He thinks he’s a boxer and wants the big fight against Paul Gallen.’

I hope ‘The Big Omelette’ can put on a show with ‘Hodgey’ on Wednesday night.

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