Lots of rugby league players have crossed sports with many players in the modern game being athletic freaks with serious pace, power and an ability to transfer skills and that’s been highlighted a lot with NRL players transitioning into boxing.
Notable names include Sonny Bill Williams and Paul Gallen but Sydney Roosters prop Matthew Lodge was expected to be the latest to make the switch as he was set to debut at an event headed by former World title contender Lucas Browne, Olympian Alex Winwood and other professionals.
Lodge is no stranger to a fight having had multiple bust-ups on the field and so his debut in the Middle East in Dubai wasn’t a major shock, but what was shocking was that the event was called off and the promoter disappearing with Lodge and all the other fighters money less than a week before fight night.
Per Fox Sports, the entire event, put on by Iconic Promotions Dubai and promoter Andre Spencer, was called off after Lodge and fellow athletes arrived in the Middle East with promoter Spencer now nowhere to be found.
All Australians involved, including Lodge, are now back down under and very out of pocket with pro boxers such as Browne typically making use of a 10-week camp all on their own expenses to prepare for a fight, the payoff ultimately being their purse on fight night.
With the promoter now disappearing just days before the event, Fox Sports report that one boxing manager has described the scandal as: “the worst s**t fight I’ve ever seen.”
Fox also reported that headline fighters Lucas Browne and Mahmoud Charr, who has previously engaged in fight talks with English boxer and World Champion Tyson Fury, both commented on the saga.
“(Spencer) didn’t make the fight happen, he lied to all of us — the fighters, the promoters, the managers,” Charr said. “And now, I come to this hotel, and some of the fighters here are on the street because the hotel was not paid …”
Lodge will now return to his paid role with the Roosters where Englishman Victor Radley plays as Roosters aim to improve on their first round playoff exit last year to rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs.