Polynesians have extraordinary reputations as warriors and for heavyweight star Justis Huni “boxing is in his genes”.

The Logan-born boxing prodigy, who is of Tongan and Samoan-Dutch descent, says boxing has been a family affair since the beginning and to him, family is everything.  

“I’m closer with my Tongan side just cause they’ve got a bigger family … My dad has seven brothers so it’s a very big family and we are a very tight sporting family,” says Huni. 

“We try to get together as much as we can and keep up with what’s gone on in everyone’s life.

“We’ll organise dinner and after big fights we have a big get together and a big feed, so it’s good– we’re all pretty tight.”

Standing at a whopping 193 cm and 109 kg, the 23-year-old says he started boxing from the age of six, and stood out at school in Brisbane where rugby league was the go-to-sport for most. 

“I started playing at South Sunnybank Rugby League Club and at the same time I was doing boxing training down at Logan PCYC, so I would do two days footy training and then two days I was doing boxing training,” he said.

“My old man gave me and my brother the decision to pick one sport that we wanted to do, that we wanted to take up and I chose to do boxing. 

“All of my mates were playing rugby league and they would all go to rugby league training after school together and I was the odd one out.

“But it all paid off and I’m still very close with all the boys I went to school with.” 

Mr Huni says while he isn’t tied to his Polynesian side “as much as [I] should be,” he wants to explore that side of his culture more. 

“I haven’t had the opportunity with Covid and everything to travel back and visit those islands where my old man and my mum is from but I’m sure I’ll get to go back and experience that side of my background and my culture. 

“… I’m definitely looking to travel back to Tonga and Samoa to visit those places and get a feel of the culture and my background.”

Huni’s father and boxing coach Rocki Huni, who moved to Australia from Tonga in 1975, says boxing has been a part of the family for years and Justis is ‘made for boxing’. 

“Our family boxing background goes back to probably the 40s so I think it was always in our genes but I think Justis has probably taken it to another level. 

“Justis was pretty much born into boxing. 

I was training his older brother at the time and when Justis was born he was always at the gym crawling around as a baby so it’s something that he’s just grown up to do,” he said. 

The Australian heavyweight champion is 5-0 as a professional and has long been touted as a future world champion following a successful amateur career. 

He is preparing to fight Joe Goodall in a rescheduled bout at Brisbane’s Nissan Arena on June 15. 

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