Ben Hannant made it to weigh-in with just seconds to spare ahead of Wednesday night’s boxing bout with former teammate Justin Hodges, and had a simple reason as to why: ‘I’ve been busy’.
Hannant, whose surprising no-show at Monday’s press conference was slammed by Hodges, is making his professional debut in the heavyweight bout at the Brisbane Convention Centre, and weighed in at 107.66kg.
His former Broncos and Queensland teammate Justin Hodges, who has a 3-1-0 professional record, looks in great nick and weighed in at 104.1kg.
A potential blockbuster bout with another former NRL hardman, Paul Gallen, awaits the winner of the match, which is on the undercard of Liam Wilson and Matias Rueda’s super featherweight title fight.
Ben Hannant (left) and Justin Hodges (right) square off ahead of the boxing bout
Hannant’s arrival at the weigh-in with just 30 seconds to was welcomed by his former Broncos and Queensland teammate Hodges, who said he had been working ‘extremely hard’ ahead of the fight.
‘It’s good to see The Big Omelette [Hannant] arrived. Looking forward to tomorrow night, this is the best I’ve trained and I’m looking for a knock-out,’ said Hodges.
‘This could possibly be my last or I could have one more after this. Only one person stands in the way of my dream and normally when someone stands in the way I like to get rid of them. Benny’s in my way … so I gotta take the big fella out.’
Justin Hodges (right) takes on former NRL player Nathan Ross at the end of 2021
In Hodges’ three-bout professional boxing career; he has knocked out a former furniture removalist, Rob Baron, just 75 seconds into his debut, before knocking out New Zealander Troy McMahon within 20 seconds.
He was handed his first loss in when he took on former NRL prop Darcy Lussick in December 2019.
Hodges also won by majority decision in a ‘Footy Fight Night’ bout against former NRL winger Nathan Ross.
Ben Hannant is making his professional boxing debut on Wednesday night
Hannant was a little more nonplussed about the fight, preferring to focus on the fact he has a lot going on behind the scenes as to why he was absent from the press conference and late to the weigh-in.
It’s clear though, that he is ready to put on a show.
‘I’ve been busy. I have a life obviously, I have eight kids to look after plus my breakfast radio show so I’m not a full-time athlete anymore. I’m just like the regular folks who are going to come out and watch,’ Hannant said at the weigh-in.
‘I’m going to come put a show on tomorrow night. I’m expecting to entertain. I think there’s going to be some big shots thrown from both and I think one of us is going to have an early night
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 snowy-haired prop 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 missing at the pre-fight press conference on Monday.
‘I was still in Perth, I was flying back,’ Hannant told Fox Sports.
‘I’m a proud Queenslander, I was there supporting my team and my state, it was just one of things where I couldn’t get back in time. I thought Justin would be over there as well supporting Queensland but I guess he’s really focusing on the fight.’
Former Broncos and Queensland teammates Justin Hodges (left) and Ben Hannant (right)
Hodges told the media at the pre-fight press conference if Hannant ‘doesn’t turn up I’m going to have to drive down there and flog him outside the ring,’ while promotor George Rose also slammed the no-show.
‘Ben Hannant hasn’t turned up today and it’s strange because he hammered me on live radio during the week. He wanted knock-out bonuses and all these sorts of things and he doesn’t even turn up to the press conference,’ said Rose.
Hannant and Hodges are set to square off in a blockbuster bout on Wednesday night
For his part, Hannant is in for a good time, but probably not a long time.
‘I don’t think it’s going to go the distance. 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.’
Here’s hoping ‘The Big Omelette’ can put on a show with ‘Hodgey’ come Wednesday night.