Featherstone recruit proves a point in the boxing ring

FEATHERSTONE’S high-profile overseas recruit Joey Leilua enjoyed a successful first foray into professional boxing, outpointing former England and NRL player and fellow debutant Chris Heighington over four rounds.

The Samoa ace and twice Dally M centre of the year, who has joined Rovers from Wests Tigers, was a 38-37, 39-27, 39-27 winner in the heavyweight bout which was part of a Rugby League-themed fight night in Sydney.

In the headline contest, former Australia forward and Cronulla captain Paul Gallen survived a first-round scare to beat ex-Manly, Parramatta, Toronto and Salford prop Darcy Lussick, who had one game on loan to Featherstone in 2021.

The third-round stoppage at heavyweight stretched the one-time New South Wales Origin star’s professional boxing record to twelve wins from 14, but some fans branded the whole Foxtel’s MainEvent pay-per-view event a “joke”.

While Featherstone will be breathing a sigh of relief after Leilua appeared to come through the experience without any damage, the 30-year-old said: “I knew I could fight. I just wanted to show the world.”

Rovers chairman Mark Campbell has labelled the former Sydney Roosters, Newcastle and Canberra star, who has featured in two Grand Finals, as “one of the most significant signings in the club’s history”.

Leilua’s switch on a reported two-year deal represents a bid to revive his career after a controversial exit from Wests, where he fell out of favour with coach Michael Maguire.