Melbourne Storm giant Nelson Asofa-Solomona has revealed the incredible story of his first foray into boxing as he prepares to fight Dolphins prop Jarrod Wallace on Saturday night.
The 200cm, 115kg Enforcer will make its professional boxing debut with some of rugby league’s toughest players on a card featuring emerging Australian boxing talent Paulo Aokuso.
Asofa-Solomona is the most feared man in the NRL and this won’t be the first time the Kiwi giant has entered a boxing ring.
“I started boxing when I was 12,” Asofa-Solomona told Daily Mail Australia.
“My dad took me to the local gym in Wellington. I did a little sparring with the coach’s son, who was 16 years old.
Nelson Asofa-Solomona faces Dolphins mainstay Jarrod Wallace on Saturday night
The Storm enforcer said he started boxing at 12 and recently fell in love with the sport again as he prepared to make his professional debut.
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“I touched up his son and the coach was not very happy. He gave me the cold shoulder after that.
“It was pretty much my boxing career over until about 2019.”
Wallace has reported that his coach, Wayne Bennett, told him he was an “absolute idiot” for entering the squared circle with Asofa-Solomona – and the Storm powerhouse thinks it’s quite funny.
“There’s no bad blood between me and Wallace – I’d be lying if I said there was,” he explained.
“(Storm coach) Craig Bellamy didn’t say anything like that to me. I thought it was funny that Bennett said that to Wallace – he was obviously making fun of him.
“But in saying that, Jarrod is pretty brave. Anyone who gets in the ring is brave. I give him a lot of credit.
Asofa-Solomona enjoys his boxing training and would like to follow in the footsteps of Paul Gallen and Sonny Bill Williams and wants to get into the fight game once his football career is over.
“I would love to do it, regardless of the results this weekend,” he said.
Asofa-Solomona says he has what it takes to pursue the sport once his football career is over
Kiwi star says several of his Storm teammates could take up boxing
“I want to continue boxing. I feel like I have what it takes.
He suspects some of his Storm teammates also have the talent to get in the ring.
“Christian Welch often talks about being a good boxer,” Asofa-Solomona said.
“I would love to see him there one day.
“Eli Katoa also fancies himself a boxer. He thinks he will get into the ring in the next few years.
“Big Tui, Tui Kamikamica, he thinks he’s a bit of a fighter. He says he can blow out a few fuses.
“I think Cameron Munster can get in the ring too. I think he would get a lot of attention if he was a main eventer.
Asofa-Solomona says his opponent is a brave man for stepping into the ring with him
Asofa-Solomona predicts that whatever happens on Saturday night in Townsville, it won’t be the right time for Jarrod Wallace.
“It could go one of two ways. Either I’m going to punish him for three rounds or we can give him an early night,” he said.
“Those are the two scenarios.”
And when it comes to his biggest weapon, the Storm big man says Wallace should worry about any type of punch.
“That’s all, he’s going to have to be careful about everything.”
The card also features NRL stars Reagan Campbell-Gillard taking on Jason Taumalolo in their professional debut.
Junior Paulo will face retired star Ben Hannant, while Justin Hodges will face Matt Cooper.
Tevita Pangai Junior will also contest his first boxing match since announcing his retirement from rugby league, fighting Frank Amato.
Pangai Jr’s brother Jermaine will also feature on the card against Nepote Dawadawa, with Austin Aokuso set to face Filimoni Naliva Jr.