‘I’ve been busy’: Hannant’s bizarre no-show explained as footy star Hodges threatens

Footy great Ben Hannant has opened his bizarre no-show at the press conference, vowing to take former Maroons teammate Justin Hodges to a “really dark place” and knock him out.

Hannant weighed in at 107.66kg for his professional boxing debut, while Hodges tipped the scales at 104.1kg ahead of their heavyweight fight at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Center on Wednesday night.

The former Cowboys and Bulldogs star was torn to shreds by Hodges and No Limit CEO George Rose at Monday’s press conference, but Hannant revealed he supported his state in Game II of Origin and took a veiled swipe at his opponent.

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Hodges strikes opponent, eyes off Gal | 02:46

“I was still in Perth, I flew back,” Hannant told foxsports.com.au.

“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.”

When asked why he arrived at Tuesday’s weigh-in with just 30 seconds left, Hannant again had an answer.

“I’ve been busy,” he said. ‘I have a wife, I have eight children to take care of. I have my breakfast radio show. I’m not a full-time athlete anymore, I’m just an ordinary person who comes out to watch.”

Wilson pumped to fight in front of home crowd! † 03:00

Hannant also had a reaction to Rose’s disappointment at Monday’s absence, with the former challenging fellow footy legend and knocking off any doubters who doubted his ability in the ring.

“I hope he (Rose) puts his hands in his pockets,” Hannant said.

“We’re going to put on a show, we’re entertainers.

“Words are words. When I was part of the Origin series and my entire football career, people wrote me off. People can say what they want, in the end my job is to entertain whether I’m in the ring or on the field.

“My record speaks for itself. My first fight against (Josh) Papali’i, nobody said I would last 30 seconds. Took him the distance and he doesn’t want a rematch. I’ve had one charity fight since then and I knocked that guy out.”

There’s plenty at stake in the heavyweight clash, as a win for both men is likely to lead to a smashing match against Paul Gallen, the rugby league’s most successful boxer.

Hannant knows he’ll be tested against Hodges, a man who already has professional fights to his credit, but he’s fully prepared for what the former Broncos star will bring to the table, even if he has a less-than-ideal amount of time had to prepare.

“It’s a short preparation, of course, but it’s also very exciting to test yourself and put yourself in a very dark place,” Hannant said.

“To get real happiness or success in life, you have to put yourself through hard times, hurt yourself a lot and go to a lot of dark places.

‘I’m sure we’ll be there. We wake up, we both go to some dark places.”

Hodges: I’ll hit him as hard as I can! † 01:17

As to how the fight will end, Hannant made a chilling prediction that will no doubt thrill the fans who will gather at the Brisbane Convention Center tomorrow night.

“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.

“We are 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 is a boxer and wants the big fight against Paul Gallen.

“I didn’t go looking for this fight, they went looking for me. I think they made a mistake coming after me.”

Headlining the evening, Liam Wilson takes on Matias Rueda for the IBF international super featherweight title.

Wilson weighed in at 58.78kg while Rueda took in 58.74kg and the Aussie star was clear in his intentions for Wednesday’s main event.

“I’m going to come into this fight with the same pressure that I did in the last fight I had with good boxing spirit and calculated boxing,” Wilson said.

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